LCC Student Wins National Debate Championship

Fighting Smelt


Pictured (L-R, *coaches & assistant coaches):

On screen: Alayna Dalgleish*, Erika Hein*, Glenn John Cervantes*, Alex Brehm*

In person: Ilinca Slabu, Jagger Norris, Eli Tovar, Reagan Gosselin, Penelope Anderson, Rebecca Pickner*, Molly Mahoney, Nyssa Miller

“The Art of Persuasion, Beautiful and Just”: LCC Speech & Debate Finds Success Among One of the Largest National Tournaments in the Country

By Alayna Dalgleish

The Lower Columbia College Fighting Smelt Speech & Debate Team competed for four days at one of the most competitive national tournaments in the country, the Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament, yielding impressive results. The team was honored with 2nd place in Community College team sweepstakes, as well as 12th in debate and 14th in overall combined team sweepstakes out of the 79 colleges and universities from across the country, with 520 students competing. 

Ilinca Slabu of Longview won the final round of JV International Public Debate Championship Tournament debate out of over 60 competitors, making her the national champion in her division. In addition to her International Public Debate Championship Tournament win, Slabu also advanced to quarterfinals in Extemporaneous Speaking.

Molly Mahoney of Kelso advanced to the final round in Communication Analysis, one of the most competitive and technical categories in speech events, and secured 4th place overall. Additionally, Mahoney advanced to octofinals in JV International Public Debate Championship Tournament, and earned an Excellence Award in Impromptu Speaking. 

Reagan Gosselin of Longview advanced to quarterfinals in Persuasive Speaking.

Jagger Norris of Longview was named 4th overall speaker in JV International Public Debate Championship Tournament. 

Also representing Lower Columbia College and earning team sweepstakes points at this tournament were Nyssa Miller of Toledo, Penelope Anderson of Navapine, and Destiny Losolla of Longview.

Alongside the competitors, the team also had support from alumni Glenn John Cervantes, Erika Salores, Rebecca Pickner, Alayna Dalgleish, Eli Tovar, and Julia Mitchell throughout the duration of the tournament.

In April, the Fighting Smelt will begin their final nationals push at the American Forensics Association National Speech Tournament, the International Public Debate Championship Tournament, and the National Forensics Association Championship Tournament. 

Learn more about The Fighting Smelt Speech & Debate Team. For additional information contact Alex Brehm, Director of Forensics and Communication Studies Instructor, at

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