Lower Columbia College Honored with National Debate Awards

Fighting Smelt

Lower Columbia College Honored with National Debate Awards

The Lower Columbia College Fighting Smelt Speech & Debate Team finished their 2020-2021 IPDA debate season competing at the 2021 IPDA National Tournament.

The Fighting Smelt finished 3rd in community college team sweepstakes for the tournament. During the tournament awards ceremony, season-long national awards were announced and presented to both teams and individuals. The team claimed second overall community college, as well as sixth place JV debate squad. 

Not announced at the ceremony, but still an achievement the squad is tremendously proud of, Lower Columbia College also finished first in the nation among all community colleges in season-long scholastic sweepstakes.

Ilinca Slabu of Longview advanced to quarterfinals in JV IPDA debate and was named 12th best speaker at the tournament. In addition to her advancement, Slabu received a season-long JV debater award, securing ninth place in the nation out of 175 students who competed in this division.

Molly Mahoney of Kelso also received a season-long JV debater award, securing tenth place in the nation.

Both Jagger Norris of Longview and Mahoney earned impressive 4-4 records during the tournament in a tough field of debaters. 

Alongside the competitors, alumni Glenn John Cervantes and Rebecca Pickner were volunteer judges at the tournament. Additionally, alumni Mitchell Levy, Eli Tovar, and Julia Mitchell helped LCC competitors prepare debate cases throughout the duration of the tournament.

The Fighting Smelt will be finishing out their speech season at the NFA National Championship in the upcoming week, and then will begin postseason preparation for the upcoming academic year. 

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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