Debate team wins at regional tournament

It’s not up for debate: Pacific Lutheran University’s Forensics team won three first place titles last weekend.

PLU was one of 15 schools in the Pacific Northwest to compete in the 41st annual Smelt Classic tournament at Lower Columbia College in Longview.

Justin Eckstein, a communication professor, directed the approximately 18 competitors from PLU who participated.

In novice British Parliamentary debate, seniors Mamie Howard and Caitlin Zimmerman won first place. Howard also took first in novice Poetry Interpretation. This was Howard’s first tournament, which she said was “a great introduction to the debate world.”

Sophomores Brendan Stanton and Kellie Blauvelt won first place in novice Duo Interpretation, which entails cutting up a play into a 10-minute performance.

“You can’t look at each other while performing,” Blauvelt said.

Blauvelt and Stanton performed the play ‘Bea,’ about a terminally ill girl and her caretaker, who helps her experience life before she dies.

“I think we did incredible,” Blauvelt said. “For a lot of the people who won it was the first time in those events. I think we did really well.”

PLU’s team took home additional recognition from the Smelt Classic. In National Parliamentary Debate, sophomore Andrew Tinker won a speaker award. Senior David Mooney and Stanton also won speaker awards, in the British Parliamentary Debate category.

Junior Katelynn Padron and Blauvelt were finalists in Persuasive Speaking.

“My topic was about the Susan G. Koman foundation and how they don’t donate to cancer research,” Blauvelt said.

Nearby colleges Lewis & Clark, Linfield, Whitworth and Seattle University also competed at the tournament.

Forensics previously competed at the Lewis & Clark Debate Tournament in Portland, where they ranked 10th out of 64 teams, in October.

Blauvelt said in the next two weeks the PLU Forensics team will focus on practicing for speech categories. Forensics competes Nov. 15-17 at Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore. 🅼

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