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The Lower Columbia College Fighting Smelt Speech & Debate Team won 2nd place in overall team sweepstakes at the McPherson Classic Tournament hosted by Whitworth University.

The Fighting Smelt

Pictured (left to right)

Back Row: Molly Mahoney, Victoria DelSasso, Alex Brehm, Ilinca Slabu, Felix Stöth

Front Row: Samantha Cohen, Julia Mitchell, Eli Tovar

This result placed LCC above a number of top four-year colleges and universities, including Carroll, Pacific, Oregon State, Lewis & Clark, University of Portland, and the University of Montana. This result shows that the Fighting Smelt can be competitive at the highest level within the region.

This team was comprised of a mix of experienced competitors and LCC students who were trying competitive speech and debate for the first time.

Julia Mitchell of Kelso continued her remarkable breakout season by earning awards in every category that she entered. Mitchell was the champion of novice Impromptu Speaking, Informative Speaking, and Extemporaneous Speaking. She also advanced to novice IPDA quarterfinals and was named novice IPDA top speaker. Cumulatively, Mitchell earned third place in individual sweepstakes based on her results across all of these categories.

Eli Tovar of Castle Rock was the champion of novice IPDA debate, defeating a tough opponent from the University of Idaho in the final round by successfully affirming the resolution, “The NRA is losing its clout and power.” Tovar also finished 4th in novice Impromptu Speaking and 5th in open Persuasive Speaking.

Competing in his first ever tournament, Felix Stöth of Aschaffenburg, Germany advanced to the final round of novice Extemporaneous Speaking and placed 5th. Stöth overcame the barrier of having to compete in his second language to have remarkable success in speech competition. He also competed in IPDA debate and Impromptu Speaking.

Molly Mahoney of Kelso placed in the top ten in all four of her events, finishing 6th in open Persuasive Speaking, 8th in novice Impromptu Speaking, 9th in novice Extemporaneous Speaking, and 9th in novice IPDA debate.

Ilinca Slabu of Kelso finished 8th in novice Extemporaneous Speaking and 10th in Novice Impromptu Speaking.

Victoria DelSasso of Castle Rock, competing in her first ever tournament, earned her first win in intercollegiate debate. DelSasso also competed in Impromptu, Extemporaneous, and Informative Speaking.

Next up for LCC Speech and Debate is the Mahaffey Memorial Tournament hosted by Linfield College the weekend of November 8th-10th. This is a brutally competitive Northwest Forensics Conference Designated Tournament, but the Fighting Smelt look like they are up to the challenge.


Learn more about The Fighting Smelt Speech & Debate Team. Contact Alex Brehm, Director of Forensics and Communication Studies Instructor, at (360) 442-2670 or by email.

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