(MODESTO, CA)— The Modesto Junior College Speech and Debate Team wrapped up the fall season by earning the top sweepstakes award for community colleges, and beating out all the four year institutions participating at University of California, Berkeley this last Sunday.
The MJC team’s head coach Ryan Guy, said “This has been MJC’s most successful semester in recent history.”
MJC won top sweepstakes awards at every tournament they attended this fall, advanced a novice group of debaters to varsity levels, and qualified two speakers to a prestigious national tournament. This past weekend was no exception to their winning streak. Battling it out with schools as far away as Wisconsin, MJC took wins across the board in both speech and debate events.
In Lincoln-Douglas Debate, all MJC students had winning records (3-1 or better). The tournament marked a massive advancement for MJC debate: the entire squad of new debaters moved up to compete in the open division. Both Rick Morris and Michael Rourick progressed to out-rounds with perfect records. Morris finished as a semi-finalist and Rourick went on to beat out Santa Rosa Junior College and win first place.
In speech events MJC dominated the competition. Up-and-comer Daniel Johnson achieved third place in novice persuasive speaking. Morris, competing in open for the first time, took home a finalist award in dramatic interpretation. Casey Shoblom won awards in limited preparation events, earning a finalist award in novice impromptu and a second place in novice extemporaneous speaking.
The biggest wins for the team this weekend centered on a showdown between MJC’s Jon Sahlman and James Baugh. Both competitors battled for the top spots in a variety of shared events. Saturday, Sahlman took home third place in communication analysis, a second place in extemporaneous, and a second in impromptu. Baugh earned a second place in persuasive speaking and first place awards in extemporaneous, after dinner, informative, and impromptu speaking.
As the rest of the Pirate squad sailed home Saturday night, Baugh and Sahlman remained behind to compete in a second day of events. On Sunday, Sahlman and Baugh continued their friendly rivalry, breaking all events into out-rounds. This time Baugh won first place in after dinner speaking, and second place awards in informative, impromptu, persuasive, and extemporaneous. Sahlman achieved third in impromptu speaking and first places in all his other events.
This weekend’s success concluded with both Baugh and Sahlman being recognized for their success. Baugh narrowly beat out Sahlman to take home individual sweepstakes awards in both the limited prep and platform speech category. They also managed to qualify for two more events each at the prestigious National Individual Events Tournament this spring in Portland, Oregon.
Baugh said “This was MJC's best year ever. With such a strong fall semester, and the approaching National tournaments, MJC is going to be the team to beat.”
Shoblom, a new debater for MJC, commented “It feels great to end the semester on a high note, but we still have a ways to go. Having just set the bar high will make it that much better when we surpass it by the end of next semester.”
MJC’s squad now takes a break until January 23 when the team will travel to Santa Clara University for the first tournament of the spring, kicking off six weekends on the road at competitions. The culmination of the spring season will be the Phi Rho Pi Tournament that is scheduled for April in Ohio.
Megan Chatelain said “As successful as this semester was, I am more excited for the next term. We have a great starting point and now we know what we need to do in order to win states and nationals.”
For more information about the team and upcoming events, contact Coach Guy at email@example.com or (209) 575-6110.