Speech and Debate Team sweeps up another first-place win at Santa Rosa Invitational Forensics Tournament

Santa Rosa Fall 2017

Top (L to R):  Victor Lumidao, Sean Cox-Marcellin, Abel Zambrano, Brendan Ward
Middle (L to R):  Justin Dolenar, Ryan Teese
Bottom (L to R):  Taylor Coburn, Bailey Coleman, Austin Castro, Kaylee Inman


The Modesto Junior College Speech and Debate Team swept up another first place sweepstakes award at the Santa Rosa Invitational Forensics Tournament held October 6-7, 2017, at Santa Rosa Junior College. This marks the second tournament this fall the MJC squad has out-spoken other two-year and four-year institutions to win the coveted top prize.  

Teams earn sweepstakes points when individual competitors break into final rounds. After two long days of debate, platform speaking, oral interpretation and limited preparation, the ten competing MJC team members brought home 19 awards.

The students earned medals in limited-preparation events, including Extemporaneous Speaking, in which speakers have 30 minutes to research and write a seven-minute speech answering a question about domestic or international current affairs. It also includes Impromptu Speaking, in which students have two minutes to prepare a five-minute speech responding to a prompt. Austin Castro took first place in Open Extemporaneous Speaking. Castro and Kaylee Inman were finalists in Open Impromptu. Taylor Coburn was a finalist in Novice Impromptu.

MJC team members took awards in platform events with memorized speeches, including Persuasive, Informative, Communication Analysis, and After Dinner Speaking. MJC students spoke about a range of topics including internet “trolls,” representation of female politicians, innovative pollution-eating robots, the world’s diminishing sand supply, and the need for foster care reform.

Coburn captured first place in Open Persuasive Speaking.  Castro won second place in Open After Dinner Speaking. Victor Lumidao was a finalist in Novice Informative Speaking.

Bailey Coleman took first place in Open Informative Speaking and third place in Open Communication Analysis. Coleman’s success this weekend also put her over the mark to qualify for the national tournament in Florida next April. Coleman, who works as a speech tutor at the college, is the first MJC competitor to secure a coveted spot to nationals.

MJC competitors also won awards in oral interpretation events, including Prose, Poetry, and Programmed Oral Interpretation.  In these events students perform published work that speaks to significant social issues such as the prison industrial complex or rising rates of depression by embodying characters that bring the literature to life.

Justin Dolenar captured first place in Open Poetry, while Coburn brought home third place. Ryan Teese won second place in Novice Prose. Inman took a finalist award in Open Programmed Oral Interpretation.

MJC students had a strong showing in debate events as well, including Parliamentary Debate in which students have 15 minutes to prepare for a given resolution. In Parliamentary Debate, the partnership of Inman and Sean Cox-Marcellin and the partnership of Brendan Ward and Abel Zambrano took quarterfinalist awards. Topics included whether the U.S. should implement a single-payer health care system, whether Spain should recognize Catalonia’s independence, and whether employees should be required to pay union dues.

In Lincoln-Douglas Debate students prepare extensive research for a year-long resolution, and this year the topic is about whether the U.S. Federal Government should increase regulations on police misconduct. In Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Zambrano out-argued every other competitor and won first place.

MJC’s success at the tournament culminated in awards in three sweepstakes areas, achieving third place in debate sweeps and second place in individual event sweeps, in addition to the first place overall sweepstakes.

Taure Shimp, co-coach of the MJC Speech Team, said, “All of these students have raw talent, but it’s their discipline and dedication that got them here. It’s extremely rewarding to work with individuals who are so committed to the activity.”

On October 20-22, MJC Speech and Debate will travel to Reno, Nevada for another round of competition. For more information about the team including travel schedule and results, visit www.MJCForensics.org.


October 2017
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Modesto Junior College

435 College Ave
Modesto CA 95350

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