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Modesto Junior College

Speech and Debate Team launches spring competition with sweepstakes win

The Modesto Junior College Speech and Debate Team launched spring semester competition with a first place sweepstakes win at Chabot College’s Keeling Invitational in Hayward, CA, held January 26-27.

The competition was a “swing,” meaning there are two full tournaments over the course of the weekend and competitors have a chance to win twice in their events. Sixteen MJC students competed and collectively took home 36 awards in individual speech and debate events.

The results from the Friday tournament are as follows: In open after dinner speaking, Austin Castro earned a finalist award. In open poetry, Taylor Coburn took a finalist award. In open impromptu, Coburn took a finalist award, Tristan Spaulding earned third, and Castro won first. In open extemporaneous speaking, Ella Yeoman was a finalist while Castro captured first. In open persuasive, Castro and Bailey Coleman were finalists and Coburn took third. Coleman won first place in both open communication analysis and in open informative speaking.

MJC students also competed in Friday’s parliamentary debate. The partnership of Sean-Cox Marcellin and Abel Zambrano were quarterfinalists in the open division. In the novice division, the partnership of Gavin Gould and Cristian Vasquez took second place.

MJC students were recognized as some of the best speakers at the Friday tournament. This is calculated separately from wins and losses and instead reflects students’ speaker points in each round. Vasquez was recognized as the third place novice speaker. Gould was awarded the first place novice speaker.

The results from the Saturday tournament are as follows: In open after dinner speaking, Castro earned a finalist award. In open communication analysis, Coleman took second place. In open informative speaking, Coleman won second place. In open persuasion, Coleman was a finalist while Castro captured first place. In open programmed oral interpretation, Kaylee Inman took second place. In novice impromptu, Vasquez earned second place while Spaulding won first place. In open impromptu, Castro took first place. In novice extemporaneous speaking, Ella Yeoman earned second place. In open extemporaneous speaking, Cox-Marcellin was a finalist, Zambrano took third place, and Castro won first place.

Taure Shimp, one of the team’s coaches, said, “This was a particularly noteworthy weekend for Castro. In addition to taking home the first place award in three of his four events, his success also qualified him to travel to the national Phi Rho Pi tournament in April.”

In Lincoln-Douglas debate, Gould won first place in the novice division. In the open division, Brendan Ward and Cox-Marcellin were quarterfinalists. Zambrano earned first place in a final round against an opponent who had an undefeated record to that point. Speaker awards are also given in this event. Ward was recognized as fourth place speaker. Zambrano was recognized as first place speaker.

Collectively, the team earned enough points to take home the first place sweepstakes award.

Ryan Guy, the director of MJC’s Speech and Debate program, stated, “I’m exceptionally proud of our squad. This win marks what I hope will be a fantastic spring season for MJC Speech and Debate.”

On February 9-11, the team travels to Livermore, CA for another round of competition at Las Positas College. For more information about the MJC team’s travel schedule and results visit