MJC Speech and Debate Finishes off the Fall Season with Huge Success

MJC Forensics Team Members

(MODESTO, CA 12/10/14)—The Modesto Junior College speech and debate team wrapped up their fall season at UC Berkeley this past Sunday with overwhelming success and accolades. The team’s head coach, Ryan Guy, said, “This has been MJC’s most successful semester in recent history.” Looking to the team’s record, this undoubtedly rings true. MJC won top sweepstakes awards at every tournament they attended this fall, advanced a novice group of debaters to varsity levels, and qualified two speakers to a prestigious national tournament. This past weekend was no exception to their winning streak. Battling it out with schools as far away as Wisconsin, MJC took massive wins across the board in both speech and debate events. This earned them the honor of not only taking top sweepstakes amongst community colleges, but also beating out every single four year institution by a long shot.

In Lincoln-Douglas Debate, all MJC students had winning records (3-1 or better). This tournament marked a massive advancement for MJC debate: the entire squad of new debaters moved up to compete in the open division. Both Rick Morris and Michael Rourick cleared to out-rounds with perfect records. Morris finished as a semi-finalist and Rourick went on to beat out Santa Rosa Junior College and take First place.
In speech events MJC dominated the competition. Up-and-comer Daniel Johnson took third in novice persuasive speaking. Morris, competing in open for the first time, took home a finalist award in dramatic interpretation. Casey Shoblom took home awards in limited preparation events, earning a finalist award in novice impromptu and a second place in novice extemporaneous speaking.

The biggest wins on the team this weekend centered around the epic showdown between MJC’s Jon Sahlman and James Baugh. Both competitors battled for the top spots in a variety of shared events. Saturday, Sahlman took home a third in communication analysis, a second place in extemporaneous, and a second in impromptu. Baugh took home second in persuasive speaking and first place awards in extemporaneous, after dinner, informative, and impromptu speaking. As the rest of the pirate squad sailed home Saturday night, Baugh and Sahlman remained behind to compete in a second day of events. On Sunday, Sahlman and Baugh continued their friendly rivalry, breaking all events into out-rounds. This time Baugh took first in after dinner speaking, and second place awards in informative, impromptu, persuasive, and extemporaneous. Sahlman took third in impromptu speaking and first places in all his other events.

This weekend’s success concluded with both Baugh and Sahlman being recognized for their massive success. Baugh narrowly beat out Sahlman to take home individual sweepstakes awards in both the limited prep and platform speech category. They also managed to qualify two more events—each—for the prestigious National Individual Events Tournament this spring in Portland, Oregon.

Ecstatic with the team’s success, Baugh was quoted as saying that this is “MJC's best year ever. With such a strong fall semester, and the approaching National tournaments, MJC is going to be the team to beat.” This sentiment was echoed by one of MJC’s new debaters Shoblom: “It feels great to end the semester on a high note, but we still have a ways to go. Having just set the bar high will make it that much better when we surpass it by the end of next semester.”

MJC’s squad now takes a well-deserved break as we head into the intersession. But as Megan Chatelain, who also achieved great success this semester, points out, they have some big challenges ahead. “As successful as this semester was, I am more excited for the next term. We have a great starting point and now we know what we need to do in order to win states and nationals.” The team will kick off 6 weekends on the road starting January 23rd when they travel to Santa Clara University for the first tournament of the spring. Ultimately everything they do now is just setting up for their biggest tournament of the year, Phi Rho Pi, to take place next April in Ohio.

For more information about the team and upcoming events, contact:
Ryan Guy, Director of Intercollegiate Forensics
(209) 575-6110

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