C of I speech and debate finds early success

The College of Idaho Speech and Debate team has been talking up a storm during the fall semester, and the results are evident.

The Howling Yotes have competed at six tournaments and experienced both individual and team success under the direction of Kyle Cheesewright—success that included a second place team finish at the University of Nevada, Reno tournament.

“The team has been putting in several hours of practice a week, in addition to regularly completing research assignments,” Cheesewright said. “Their dedication to scholarly excellence is certainly exemplary, and it makes me excited to see what they achieve throughout the year.”

The team of Marabie Barck and Logan Dennis placed a capstone on a successful fall semester at UNR by defeating the University of the Pacific in a dramatic final round. Their first place victory marks the first time in a decade that the C of I has won an open division debate tournament.

Winning the Junior Division at the Lewis-Clark State College tournament, Christian Gunderson and Marina Rossman have proven that the future of the Howling Yotes is bright. The duo defeated teams such as Rice University (Texas) on its way to capturing the win.

Matt Vraspir and Tim Menhart also have had success, proving that the Howling Yotes have a deep level of talent. At a debate at Lewis-Clark State College, Vraspir placed third in Open Individual Debate. Menhart placed second overall in Junior Extemporaneous Speaking, and again took second the following weekend at UNR.

The team of Aanish Shamim and Kimberly Simmons also have enjoyed positive results. Both freshman competed in Junior Parliamentary Debate and managed to take quarterfinalist accolades at the Northwest Parli Warmup, as well as placing in the top-16 at Lewis and Clark College.

Finally, the team of Frank Gigray and Gabriel Herring have done exceptionally well in their first semester of collegiate debate, placing in the top-16 of Junior Parliamentary Debate at Lewis and Clark. Casey Alcoser also added several first place finishes in Junior Poetry and Junior Prose at the last fall tournament at Linfield College.

The members of Howling Yotes now look to continue their winning ways as they gear up for the next stream of tournaments during winter and spring term. The team welcomes walk-on students who want to participate and learn how to speak and debate competitively. For more information, contact Cheesewright at [email protected].

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another 11 Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit