BREAKING: OCC Speech and Debate wins 13th national championship

The Orange Coast College Speech and Debate team won its 13th national championship Saturday at the Phi Rho Pi National Championship Tournament in Bethesda, Maryland at Northern Virginia Community College – the first since 2018. 

According to Communication Studies Professor Chris De Surra, there were 900 entries total compared to 600 last year. OCC’s score of 282.5 beat Mt. San Antonio College’s second-place score of 242.4. 

OCC students Campbell Gorlinski and River Mishow tied for the Bovero-Tabor Award, amassing more points than any other competitors for top speaker in the nation, followed by David Ekelem in 5th place for the award. 

Individual special awards went to Campbell Gorlinski for top speaker in International Public Debate and third-place overall speaker in Parliamentary Debate, and River Mishow for first-place overall speaker in Parliamentary Debate.

OCC grabbed a Silver Award for "Heirlooms," Gold Award for "Don't Blame Me" and a Gold Award for "I Am" in the Readers Theater competition, which features 25-minute group performances of 3-14 speakers, De Surra said. 

Individual award winners include:

Bronze Awards

  • Melanie Montegani - Dramatic Interpretation, Informative Speaking
  • Nataly Arzate - Dramatic Interpretation
  • Sydney Do - Prose, Poetry
  • Cydney Izabal - Poetry
  • Emma Peterson - Speech to Entertain
  • River Mishow - Speech to Entertain
  • Chelsey Barrera - Speech to Entertain
  • Victoria Tran - Program Oral Interpretation
  • Charles Dherlin - Program Oral Interpretation
  • Campbell Gorlinski - Extemporaneous Speaking
  • Nataly Arzate - Poetry

Silver Awards

  • David Ekelem - Informative Speaking
  • Emma Peterson - Prose
  • David Ekelem - International Public Debate

Gold Awards

  • Kyle Rivkin - Persuasive Speaking
  • David Ekelem - Dramatic Interpretation
  • Campbell Gorlinski - Impromptu Speaking
  • River Mishow - Impromptu Speaking
  • Charles Dherlin - Dramatic Interpretation
  • Campbell Gorlinski - International Public Debate
  • River Mishow - International Public Debate
  • Nina Menzagopian - International Public Debate
  • Nina Menzagopian and River Mishow - Parliamentary Debate
  • Karina Richardson and Campbell Gorlinski - Parliamentary Debate

The full-time faculty coaches are Sean Connor, Hannah Haghighat and the Director of Forensics Shaw Davari. The part-time faculty coaches are Jimmy Gomez, Christiaan Pipion and Alissa Duong. All six Speech and Debate team coaches are OCC alum and former speech team competitors. 

Saturday's national championship follows previous wins from 1979, 1980, 1985, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2007, 2009, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

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