Modesto Junior College Speech & Debate Team Qualifies for Prestigious National Tournament


Jon and James with the Sweepstakes Award

(MODESTO, CA 11/3/14)—The Modesto Junior College speech and debate team won big at the University of Pacific’s prestigious Paul Winters Invitational held October 31 through November 2 in Stockton, CA. This tournament draws some of the best speakers and debaters from around the country; after three intense days, Modesto Junior College competitors James Baugh and Jon Sahlman won first and second place in open persuasive speaking. This accomplishment qualifies Baugh and Sahlman to compete in the most reputable speech tournament in the country: the National Individual Events Tournament. MJC’s Director of Forensics, Ryan Guy, explained, “This is an incredibly impressive feat for two students who are only in their second year of competition. When I coached at the university level, it was rare for a single student to qualify at large in the fall, let alone two. The fact that they both achieved their final qualification legs at such an elite tournament is a testimony to their talent and hard work.” The National Individual Events Tournament will be held next spring in Portland, Oregon. This will be the first time in ten years that MJC has sent speakers to this tournament, and only the eighth time since the team was founded in the early 1920s.

The tournament also marked key wins for the rest of the MJC squad. Ron Thompson, Caterina Grossi, Michael Rourick, Megan Chatelain, Baugh, and Sahlman took home individual awards in a range of events including impromptu, extemporaneous, and persuasive speaking. The partnership of Sahlman and Rourick took home octo-finalist awards in open parliamentary debate. The partnership of  Chatelain and Casey Shoblom took home second place award in novice parliamentary debate.  These awards mark a major success for the team, and earned the squad the first place sweepstakes award for accumulating the most overall points in the two-year division.


The team will be traveling to their final tournament of the semester in Berkeley, CA on December 7, 2014.

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

Ryan Guy, Director of Intercollegiate Forensics

(209) 575-6110