Winter Intensive Staff

triumph debate

Progressive Staffers

Ian Mikkelsen is pursuing his doctorate in Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He competed in high school and collegiate speech and debate for 7 years at the National level. In high school, Ian won the 2011 Kansas State Championship in Lincoln Douglas debate and concluded his high-school career as the National LD Runner-up at the NCFL 2011 championship. In college, Ian competed in Parliamentary Debate winning multiple National Invitationals and took 2nd and 3rd place in the 2014 and 2015 National Parliamentary Debate Association Tournament. Ian also coached several top high-school competitors, helping his alma mater win its second LD State Championship, and break to late out rounds in Public Forum at Nationals. Recently, he coached students out rounds at NSDA Nationals, qualifying bids to the TOC Lincoln Douglas Tournament, as well as the 4th place speaker and 2020 National Champion in LD for NSDA. In collegiate debate, his students have 2016 IPDA National Championship, as well as several late out round placements in Team IPDA Nationals. He currently works at DFWSD as a coach as well as a hired judge and coach for several collegiate programs when he has the time.
Ian Mikkelsen is pursuing his doctorate in Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He competed in high school and collegiate speech and debate for 7 years at the National level. In high school, Ian won the 2011 Kansas State Championship in Lincoln Douglas debate and concluded his high-school career as the National LD Runner-up at the NCFL 2011 championship. In college, Ian competed in Parliamentary Debate winning multiple National Invitationals and took 2nd and 3rd place in the 2014 and 2015 National Parliamentary Debate Association Tournament. Ian also coached several top high-school competitors, helping his alma mater win its second LD State Championship, and break to late out rounds in Public Forum at Nationals. Recently, he coached students out rounds at NSDA Nationals, qualifying bids to the TOC Lincoln Douglas Tournament, as well as the 4th place speaker and 2020 National Champion in LD for NSDA. In collegiate debate, his students have 2016 IPDA National Championship, as well as several late out round placements in Team IPDA Nationals. He currently works at DFWSD as a coach as well as a hired judge and coach for several collegiate programs when he has the time.
Nethmin Liyanage attended the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania where she debated in Lincoln-Douglas and served as the captain of the debate team. Her last two years of high school involved teaching many young debaters and she’s excited to share that experience with students at Triumph Debate’s winter intensive! During her career, she was the first LD debater at her school to reach the bid round of a national circuit tournament and the first LD debater to receive a round robin invitation. She reached the bid round at Meadows, Blue Key, ASU, Emory, and Millard North and cleared at the majority of the tournaments she attended. The highlight of her career was championing the Durham Round Robin with some of her closest friends, all of whom have curly hair. Nethmin is a student at (currently virtual) Pitzer College where her hobbies include trying out fun zoom backgrounds and drinking cold brew. When not debating, she can be found talking about intersectional feminism or buying copious amounts of Pilot G2 pens.
Nethmin Liyanage attended the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania where she debated in Lincoln-Douglas and served as the captain of the debate team. Her last two years of high school involved teaching many young debaters and she’s excited to share that experience with students at Triumph Debate’s winter intensive! During her career, she was the first LD debater at her school to reach the bid round of a national circuit tournament and the first LD debater to receive a round robin invitation. She reached the bid round at Meadows, Blue Key, ASU, Emory, and Millard North and cleared at the majority of the tournaments she attended. The highlight of her career was championing the Durham Round Robin with some of her closest friends, all of whom have curly hair. She attends Pitzer College where she is studying Biology, Chemistry and Spanish. When not debating, she can be found talking about intersectional feminism or buying copious amounts of Pilot G2 pens.
As a debater Zac was successful on the national circuit and qualified to the TOC twice and got a winning record at NSDAs despite lacking a school debate coach or strong institutional support, going 3-3 as a Junior and choosing to coach rather than attend e-toc. Zac has always placed heavy emphasis on a strong foundational understanding of argumentation and strategy that emphasizes research and skill. Other notable results include being ranked 6th in California by the NSDA, and being a runner up at the Apple Valley RR. But not all good debaters are good teachers. Zac has had experience coaching 100+ debaters for Policy, LD, and Parliamentary debate and has worked with programs such as PepTalk, W.indebate, ODI, VBI, UTNIF, and of course Triumph. While Zac was still debating, Zac founded and organized Verge Debate, a mutual prep sharing and coaching team for small school debaters without school coaches, and so Zac has lots of experience coordinating prep assignments, talking about strategies, and assisting with long term and pre-round preparation. Zac is familiar with overcoming prep disparities, organizing collaboration in drills mocks and prep assignments, and providing specialized and flexible support to different debaters needs. Over the summer alone Zac has judged 40+ rounds, so Zac has plenty of experience working online and in-depth knowledge of modern debate trends. In summary Zac is incredibly passionate about debate content and strategy and has the experience to back it up.
As a debater Zac was successful on the national circuit and qualified to the TOC twice and got a winning record at NSDAs despite lacking a school debate coach or strong institutional support, going 3-3 as a Junior and choosing to coach rather than attend e-toc. Zac has always placed heavy emphasis on a strong foundational understanding of argumentation and strategy that emphasizes research and skill. Other notable results include being ranked 6th in California by the NSDA, and being a runner up at the Apple Valley RR. But not all good debaters are good teachers. Zac has had experience coaching 100+ debaters for Policy, LD, and Parliamentary debate and has worked with programs such as PepTalk, W.indebate, ODI, VBI, UTNIF, and of course Triumph. While Zac was still debating, Zac founded and organized Verge Debate, a mutual prep sharing and coaching team for small school debaters without school coaches, and so Zac has lots of experience coordinating prep assignments, talking about strategies, and assisting with long term and pre-round preparation. Zac is familiar with overcoming prep disparities, organizing collaboration in drills mocks and prep assignments, and providing specialized and flexible support to different debaters needs. Over the summer alone Zac has judged 40+ rounds, so Zac has plenty of experience working online and in-depth knowledge of modern debate trends. In summary Zac is incredibly passionate about debate content and strategy and has the experience to back it up.

Traditional Staffers

Matthew Slencsak has been involved in Speech and Debate for over 10 years. He graduated from Howland HS in 2013, after competing in Lincoln Douglas debate for 4 years. After High School, Matt obtained a degree in IT. Matt has coached at multiple schools, building several programs from scratch including South Range High School and Liberty High School. Matt has coached students to making stage at both the state level and national level. He has had multiple state and national quarterfinalists, even coaching students to finals at the OSDA State Tournament and NSDA National Tournament. After observing problems in the Speech and Debate community, Matt co-founded Triumph Debate with the goal of creating a more welcoming and equitable space for all.
Jo Spurgeon competed in Speech and Debate for 3 years, competing in HI, OO, ADS, Prose, and LD. Sophomore year, Jo finaled in Humorous Interp at the OSAA State Tournament. Junior year, she was a finalist in After Dinner Speaking, third in Humorous Interp, and second in Lincoln Douglas debate at the OSAA State Tournament. Throughout her career she also won top speaker at several regional tournaments including the Jerry Hudson and Jean Ward Invitationals. Jo also qualified for the NSDA National tournament in Original Oratory in 2019 and in Lincoln Douglas debate in 2020. Senior year she was voted the 2020 Southern Oregon Student of the Year by regional coaches for her success across both speech and debate. Her senior year she also finished as the 2020 NSDA Lincoln Douglas National Champion, making her the first Oregonian to win that title in the history of the tournament. She is currently attending American University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience.
Andrea has been coaching summer debate camps for the past two years. In high school, she was a 4x California state qualifier, West LA Student of the Year, and district champion. She also quarterfinaled at the TOC as a sophomore and finished in the top 30 at NSDA Nationals as a senior. She is currently studying ethnicity, race, and migration at Yale University where she will continue to debate and coach middle and high school teams. She also volunteers with Speech and Debate Stories to make debate more equitable and accessible for people of all backgrounds. Her favorite part of coaching is having fun with debaters. Outside of debate, she loves hiking, painting, and cooking.
Matthew Slencsak has been involved in Speech and Debate for over 10 years. He graduated from Howland HS in 2013, after competing in Lincoln Douglas debate for 4 years. After High School, Matt obtained a degree in IT. Matt has coached at multiple schools, building several programs from scratch including South Range High School and Liberty High School. Matt has coached students to making stage at both the state level and national level. He has had multiple state and national quarterfinalists, even coaching students to finals at the OSDA State Tournament and NSDA National Tournament. After observing problems in the Speech and Debate community, Matt co-founded Triumph Debate with the goal of creating a more welcoming and equitable space for all.
Jo Spurgeon competed in Speech and Debate for 3 years, competing in HI, OO, ADS, Prose, and LD. Sophomore year, Jo finaled in Humorous Interp at the OSAA State Tournament. Junior year, she was a finalist in After Dinner Speaking, third in Humorous Interp, and second in Lincoln Douglas debate at the OSAA State Tournament. Throughout her career she also won top speaker at several regional tournaments including the Jerry Hudson and Jean Ward Invitationals. Jo also qualified for the NSDA National tournament in Original Oratory in 2019 and in Lincoln Douglas debate in 2020. Senior year she was voted the 2020 Southern Oregon Student of the Year by regional coaches for her success across both speech and debate. Her senior year she also finished as the 2020 NSDA Lincoln Douglas National Champion, making her the first Oregonian to win that title in the history of the tournament. She is currently attending American University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience.
Eva Lamberson competed in Lincoln Douglas for four years at Canfield High School in Ohio, where she served as the president of her team in 2018. Throughout her career, Eva succeeded at many tournaments in Ohio, advancing to break rounds and winning multiple tournaments. She was a two time state qualifier in LD, where she advanced to break rounds both years. Eva was a two time NCFL Grand National Tournament qualifier, a tournament which she championed in 2018. Eva was also a two time NSDA National qualifier, where she advanced to round twelve both years, placing fifteenth in 2017 and eleventh in 2018. During the season, she is a volunteer coach at Liberty High School. She attends Youngstown State University where she studies philosophy, English, and religion and competes on the Ethics Bowl team.
Eva Lamberson competed in Lincoln Douglas for four years at Canfield High School in Ohio, where she served as the president of her team in 2018. Throughout her career, Eva succeeded at many tournaments in Ohio, advancing to break rounds and winning multiple tournaments. She was a two time state qualifier in LD, where she advanced to break rounds both years. Eva was a two time NCFL Grand National Tournament qualifier, a tournament which she championed in 2018. Eva was also a two time NSDA National qualifier, where she advanced to round twelve both years, placing fifteenth in 2017 and eleventh in 2018. During the season, she is a volunteer coach at Liberty High School. She attends Youngstown State University where she studies philosophy, English, and religion and competes on the Ethics Bowl team.

A Bit More About Our Approach

Triumph Debate's Winter Intensive utilizes the flexibility of a virtual setting to maximize students diverse feedback and perspectives. To do this, not only do we have core instructors that students will work with in group and individual sessions, but we also bring in Guest Speakers, Area Specialists and Community Judges. We use this additional combination of instructors to increase the amount of 1:1 time students get as well as pair students to work with or receive feedback from instructors who are experts in the area they are learning/improving.