Meet Our Staff

Meet Our Staff

Triumph debate Intensive instructors

Traditional Staff

Alec baker

Alec Baker has been involved in debate since 2002. In high school he competed primarily in LD and Public Forum. During college he competed in NPDA parliamentary debate for Western Washington University where he earned a first round bid to the NPTE and was an octofinalist at the national championship. He has coached for Lewis and Clark College, MPoly Language Institute, and Classical Academy. He has a BA in philosophy from Western Washington University and an MA in rhetoric from San Diego State University where he teaches as a lecturer.

Matt slencsak

Matthew Slencsak has been involved in Speech and Debate for over a decade, competing and coaching in various events including LD, PF, Worlds, Congress, and more. Matt has worked as a PF teacher for DebateUS and the Bluegrass Debate Coalition, as well as a teacher for Worlds Debate with The A Team Academy. His students have placed, advanced to elimination rounds, and won speaker awards across the world. Matt has coached several students to final rounds at state and national tournaments. Matt co-founded Triumph Debate with the goal of creating a more welcoming and equitable space for all. Through Triumph Debate, Matt has helped hundreds of students feel included and reach success.

Eva lamberson

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. 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. She has been coaching for four years, and is currently the LD coach for the Hawken School. Eva has coached students to qualify to all three major national tournaments - NSDA, NCFL, and TOC. Students Eva has coached have also reached late outrounds or finals at tournaments like the UK season opener, Yale, Durham, the OH State Tournament, NCFLS, and NSDAs. She attends Youngstown State University where she studies philosophy and English and competes on the Ethics Bowl team.

TIA SPEECE

Tia Speece competed in Lincoln Douglas debate for three years at Kenston High School. During her first year, she semi-finaled at the state competition. In her senior year, she made it to finals at States, qualified to the NSDA National competition, and became the first female public-schooled student to compete in and win the City Club debate. She also competed in World Schools debate at the NSDA National Tournament for three years. Tia has been an assistant coach of the National Czech Republic Debate Team and the primary coach of the Edinburgh Debates Union. She now privately coaches students and competes in British Parliamentary at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where she is studying philosophy.

Progressive Staff

Ian mikkelsen

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

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.

Alec Baker

Alec Baker has been involved in debate since 2002. In high school he competed primarily in LD and Public Forum. During college he competed in NPDA parliamentary debate for Western Washington University where he earned a first round bid to the NPTE and was an octofinalist at the national championship. He has coached for Lewis and Clark College, MPoly Language Institute, and Classical Academy. He has a BA in philosophy from Western Washington University and an MA in rhetoric from San Diego State University where he teaches as a lecturer.

Matt Slencsak

Matthew Slencsak has been involved in Speech and Debate for over a decade, competing and coaching in various events including LD, PF, Worlds, Congress, and more. Matt has worked as a PF teacher for DebateUS and the Bluegrass Debate Coalition, as well as a teacher for Worlds Debate with The A Team Academy. His students have placed, advanced to elimination rounds, and won speaker awards across the world. Matt has coached several students to final rounds at state and national tournaments. Matt co-founded Triumph Debate with the goal of creating a more welcoming and equitable space for all. Through Triumph Debate, Matt has helped hundreds of students feel included and reach success.

Tia Speece

Tia Speece competed in Lincoln Douglas debate for three years at Kenston High School. During her first year, she semi-finaled at the state competition. In her senior year, she made it to finals at States, qualified to the NSDA National competition, and became the first female public-schooled student to compete in and win the City Club debate. She also competed in World Schools debate at the NSDA National Tournament for three years. Tia has been an assistant coach of the National Czech Republic Debate Team and the primary coach of the Edinburgh Debates Union. She now privately coaches students and competes in British Parliamentary at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where she is studying philosophy.

Eva Lamberson

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. 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. She has been coaching for four years, and is currently the LD coach for the Hawken School. Eva has coached students to qualify to all three major national tournaments – NSDA, NCFL, and TOC. Students Eva has coached have also reached late outrounds or finals at tournaments like the UK season opener, Yale, Durham, the OH State Tournament, NCFLS, and NSDAs. She attends Youngstown State University where she studies philosophy and English and competes on the Ethics Bowl team.

Ian Mikkelsen

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

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.