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Speech and debate tour­na­ments before Thanks­giving gave Hillsdale Col­lege’s teams much for which to be thankful.

Both teams brought home first place awards from the Falcon Classic at Bowling Green State Uni­versity in Ohio. With sep­arate events offering stu­dents more oppor­tu­nities to compete, Hillsdale’s debate team com­peted in sep­arate tour­na­ments Nov. 19 and 20, while speech com­peted on Nov. 19 only.

The speech team’s junior Mary Blen­dermann took first place for an infor­mative speech on Tran­scranial Mag­netic Stim­u­lation, a pro­cedure that treats depression. She earned straight ones in the pre­lim­inary and final rounds because every judge rated Blendermann’s speech as the best in the round.

“Earning straight ones is a rare accom­plishment known to the forensics com­munity as ‘picket fencing’ because a bunch of ones in a row look like a picket fence,” Blen­dermann said.

She received a standing ovation at the awards cer­emony, an honor reserved for first place only.

Speech coach Matthew Warner said Blen­dermann had an out­standing per­for­mance.

“Not only did she win, but she crushed the com­pe­tition,” Warner said.

At some point during Sat­urday night, the speech team was poised to win six events with student finalists in each, but speakers didn’t advance in the later rounds. Blen­dermann was a finalist in infor­mative in first place, impromptu in second, and program of oral inter­pre­tation in second. Junior Steven Custer broke into the finals in communication/rhetorical analysis in second place and per­suasive speaking in fifth. Sophomore Peter Seeley took fifth place in radio broad­casting.

The speech team next com­petes at a home tour­nament on Hillsdale’s campus Sat­urday at 8 a.m. in Lane Hall. Finals should begin around 3 p.m.

The debate team dom­i­nated the Nov. 20 tour­nament with a first place finish, after senior Graham Deese and junior Duncan Voyles took second place the first day.

The debate team had eight freshmen compete along with two upper­classmen in Par­lia­mentary debate at the tour­na­ments. Rowan MacWan and Henrey Deese qual­ified for the semi­finals in the Nov. 19 tour­nament. Three other Hillsdale pairs went 3 – 1, but didn’t advance in the tour­nament on the first day.

On Nov. 20, in a Hillsdale matchup, Joel Meng and Henrey Deese for­feited to MacWan and Brigid Maj­mudan, who then took second place, yielding to the upper­classman duo of Graham Deese and Voyles.

Debate coach Matthew Doggett said stu­dents from the same team don’t compete against each other to prevent unwanted rivalries. Such an instance is called a “walkover.”

Doggett said he was happy with both the speech and debate teams’ per­for­mances.

“Everyone had some­thing to point to that was suc­cessful,” he said.