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Modesto Junior College

Speech and Debate Team brings home Sweepstakes Award

The Modesto Junior College Speech & Debate team started the competitive season by winning the First Place Sweepstakes Award at the Golden Gate Opener held September 22-24 at San Francisco State University.

During the three day event, more than 270 competitors from 18 colleges and universities competed in a gauntlet of both speech and debate events, and when the dust settled on Sunday, the MJC team had collectively earned 174 sweepstakes points to be crowned champion and took home the top team award.

The competition was a “swing,” meaning there are two full tournaments over the course of the weekend and competitors have the chance to win in their events twice. Competing against two-year and four-year institutions, 11 MJC students participated and by the end of the weekend MJC collected 24 awards, including several in individual speech events.

MJC’s results from the first tournament are as follows:  In Open After Dinner Speaking, Austin Castro earned a finalist award; in Open Communication Analysis, Bailey Coleman took third place; in Open Informative Speaking, Coleman won second place; in Open Impromptu, Castro brought home a finalist award; in Novice Impromptu, Sabrinna Gonzales and Kaylee Inman earned finalist awards and Taylor Coburn won second place, and in Novice Persuasion, Jordain Johnson earned a finalist award, Coburn took second place and Gonzales won first place.

The results from the second tournament are as follows:  In Open After Dinner Speaking, Castro earned a finalist award; in Open Communication Analysis, Coleman won third place; in Open Informative Speaking, Coleman took Top Non-Advancing Novice; in Open Impromptu, Castro brought home the second-place award; in Novice Impromptu, Gonzales and Coburn took finalist awards while Inman captured first place; in Novice Persuasion, Gonzales earned a finalist award, Johnson took second place and Coburn won first place, and in Novice Poetry, Justin Dolenar won second place.

In debate events, MJC students also performed well. In Novice Parliamentary Debate, first-semester students Zoe Diebeck and Lydia Sanabria brought home the first place award. In Junior Parliamentary Debate, Inman and her hybrid partner from Ohlone Community College also won first place.

MJC students were also recognized as some of the best speakers at the tournament. This is calculated separately from wins and losses and instead reflects students’ speaker points in each round. In Novice Parliamentary Debate, Sanabria was recognized as the seventh best speaker while Diebeck earned top speaker.  In Junior Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Brendan Ward was recognized as the fourth-best speaker.

Taure Shimp, MJC communication studies instructor and assistant team coach, said “This is a superb start to the season. These students have put in hard work and dedication and literally reaped the rewards of their efforts.”

On October 6-7, MJC Forensics will travel to Santa Rosa, CA for another round of competition.

For more information about the team including travel schedule and results, you can visit their website at