Another Big Win for the Modesto Junior College Speech & Debate Team


(MODESTO, CA 10/13/14)—The Modesto Junior College Speech & Debate team continued their winning streak this past weekend in Santa Rosa.  Squaring off against competition from all over northern California, Modesto was once again able to walk away with a plethora of individual and team sweepstakes awards.

In team parliamentary debate, the partnership of Ron Thompson/James Baugh had a strong showing through the open quarter finals. This was Thompson’s first time competing in the open division. Michael Rourick/Jon Sahlman advanced and finished as semi-finalists. In the novice division, Megan Chatelain/Casey Shoblom and Rick Morris (debating as part of a hybrid team with Chabot’s Arnel Felizardo) represented MJC in both the quarter and semi-final round. Chatelain and Shoblom cleared and moved on to a final round against the top-ranked Santa Rosa Junior College team.  On a 3-0 decision MJC won the final round, taking home the gold medal in novice parliamentary debate. In addition to their competitive success, several MJC debaters were awarded speaker awards for their rhetorical eloquence throughout the tournament.  In novice, Morris walked away with a second place speaker award and Chatelain took first place.  In open, Rourick took fifth place speaker, Sahlman took second, and Baugh finished as the tournament’s top speaker in parliamentary debate.  MJC debaters found themselves debating a wide variety of policy topics at this tournament, ranging from California’s Proposition 46 to the role the United States government should take in the fight against ISIS.

In individual events—which includes events in limited preparation, platform speaking, and dramatic interpretation—MJC continued their winning streak. In Extemporaneous speaking, students have thirty minutes to prepare and practice a seven minute speech with sources. In the novice division, Chatelain took a Finalist award. In the open division MJC had an incredible showing.  Rourick walked away with a finalist award and Baugh took the silver medal, leaving Sahlman to go home with the gold.  This makes two first-place finishes for Sahlman in extemporaneous speaking.  One more win and he will qualify for the national tournament next spring. In Impromptu speaking, an event that requires students to compose a five minute speech based on an unexpected prompt with only two minutes of preparation, Sahlman took the bronze medal. Sahlman took finalist award in Communication Analysis, a speech that critically examines the rhetorical methods of an art campaign about street harassment.  In open Persuasive speaking, Sahlman was a bronze medalist with his speech exploring problematic loopholes in the special minimum wage act. Baugh took home the gold with a speech advocating reforms in the way Law Enforcement agencies use the COMPSTAT crime reporting system.

In Lincoln-Douglas debate, MJC continued their winning streak. MJC debaters laid out compelling arguments for and against plans to develop earth’s moon for water, minerals, and energy. In the novice division Morris, Chatelain, and Shoblom cleared to a semi-final round. In defeating the top debater from Chabot College, Chatelain assured victory for MJC and closed out the novice division leaving MJC to take home the top three awards. 

MJC was recognized as outstanding overall, taking sweepstakes awards in every category. MJC’s director of Speech & Debate, Ryan Guy, was ecstatic about the team performance. “Words can’t begin to describe how proud of them I am.  They work so hard and deserve all this success.” The MJC speech and debate team has two weekends off before they travel to the University of the Pacific where they will be squaring off against top teams from across the country.


For more information about the team and upcoming events, contact:

Ryan Guy, Director of Intercollegiate Forensics

(209) 575-6110