SRJC forensics scores second place finish at nationals

Frank Sumrall, Contributing Editor

The Santa Rosa Junior College Forensics team inspected, dissected and tore up the competition in a national championship debate showcase energized with terrific banter and raucous parlay in a fight for the crown.

At the Phi Rho Pi tournament April 8-15 in Washington D.C., SRJC finished with No. 2 ranking in the nation. Despite falling just short of first place, the forensics team covered its mantles with a second place finish in the Hindman Sweepstakes, as well as individual awards and medals.

Henry Tolchard received a gold medal for his work alongside teammate Jimmy Henry in parliamentary debate and a solo first place finish for Tolchard in the Lincoln-Douglas debate to round out his impressive SRJC career.

“This semester I was a sort of mentor to a lot of the younger debaters” Tolchard said. “This transitional experience was a good bookend to my time at SRJC.”

Director of Forensics Hal Sanford, with assistant coaches Mark Nelson and Susan Houlihan, put together another fantastic season in a dynasty that continues to churn out greatness.

In a college briming with excellence amongst its clubs and teams, the debate squad reigns supreme. SRJC has never fallen below a top-six national finish amongst community colleges; a second-place finish is an incredible feat.

“[The] students experienced invaluable educational opportunities afforded by the crucible of competitive intercollegiate speech and debate,” Sanford said. “Beyond trophies, that is the true value of forensics.”

Victoria Sheber and Lola Collaso rounded out the parliamentary debate with a bronze medal, while Sheber claimed a silver medal of her own.

SRJC boasts some of the best teams in the state with its exceptional sports programs. With athletes setting school records, ranking first in the state and winning state titles, the forensics team remains one of the most prestigious programs on campus with its continued dominance on the national scale.