Concordia forensics places top two at the Sunset Cliffs Classic

The Concordia Courier


By Leonard Memon | 10/28/2022

Concordia speech and debate placed second at the Sunset Cliffs Classic that took place Fri., Oct. 21 through Oct. 23 at Point Loma Nazarene University.

Konrad Hack, director of forensics, said, “It is so gratifying to see months of hard work pay off at a major national circuit level tournament such as this one. Each of the students has been amazing, as have coaches, Blake Longfellow and Sean Nowlan. I am incredibly proud of them.”

Concordia was very competitively successful. Sean Nowlan, director of debate, said, “I am extremely proud of the team’s performance at the tournament. There were a lot of competitors and competition to be had, and the debate team met them head-on. We did a whole lot of winning, and got a batch of shiny trophies to show for it.”

Andrew Reeder, freshman on the debate team, thought that the forensics team “did very well. We took the problems we had from our past Golden Gate Opener tournament, and we turned them into a success.”

Haidyn Christoffel, senior and captain of the debate team, shed light on the novices. She said, “We had many first year collegiate level debaters snag first place in their events, which is something we should all be very proud of!” 

Rebekah Mehrley, senior and captain of the speech team, also recognized the success that the novices achieved by saying, “I continue to be amazed by the energy, passion, and joy our new competitors are bringing to the team, especially through interpretive events.”

Both forensics teams understand that one can always be better instead of asking the other team to slow down. Christoffel, who sometimes is referred to by the team as lightning, agreed by saying, “I think there is always room for all different types of improvement, whether that's knowledge on literature bases, or just knowing what bills currently might be passed in Congress.”

Nowlan said, “In short, we're not just hoping for one gold medal, but all of them… and the silver ones too.” His rationale for this goal was that “we scored 1st place or gold in 3/4 debate events we participated in, the only goals from here are to win all debate events at a single tournament.”

The speech and debate team was also successful outside of their competitive rounds. Nowlan said, “We bonded together closer as a team, and showed other schools a perfect example of the culture Concordia promotes. I am super proud of the independence, eloquence and camaraderie that the Concordia Forensics program showed this weekend.”

Christoffel said, “I think tournaments have always been a great way to bond, not only with other fellow members of Concordia's team, but other people within the forensics community too. But within the team, I do think being with other debaters during tournaments and being able to bond with them has given me priceless friendships and perspectives on the activity I would have never seen in an online format. 

Axel Aguilar, junior on the speech team, said, “I think the way that we bonded was related to teamwork and effort. This allowed us to communicate in a really great manner and give each other ideas as to what we can do in our next rounds.”

Mehrley found that the team also bonded in some non-traditional ways like “weird impromptu topics, name mispronunciations, and missed freeway entrances.” She added, “Overall, I'm insanely grateful for the start of this season. I have no doubt that we will continue to grow and thrive as a team as we head into the rest of the semester.”

The Concordia speech and debate team encourages students to join the team to learn important advocacy skills and build life-long relationships. If you are interested in being a part of the speech and debate team, please notify Professor Hack at



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