Award-winning Forensics Team



First appearances can be misleading.  This year the Vanguard forensics team appeared to be looking at a rebuilding process.  Of the ten members of the team, eight had no collegiate debate experience.  What the team lacked in experience, they made up for with both work ethic and determination.  Professor Karen Nishie who also coaches the forensic team said, “This team with little experience set aspirational goals, and give them credit: they met every one of them.”


The National Christian College Forensics Invitational took place at California Baptist University, and the Vanguard University team walked away with plenty of hardware.  The tournament format is set up by both individual events and team Parliamentary Debate (two person teams).  This year was the best ever finish by a Vanguard University team, with the team winning the 3rd place in individual events, and a national championship in novice debate.


Among the notable finishes includes the teams of Alyssa Lax and Colin McCaig, as well as David Bell and Lexi Robinson who are co-national champions for NCCFA, Colin McKaig was also a semi-finalist in Novice Impromptu.  Alyssa Mae Lax took 1st speaker in Novice Parliament, while David Bell took 2nd place.  Josh Popke took 3rd place in Open Extemporaneous Speaking and 4th in Open Impromptu. Matthew Martinez took 6th place in Novice After Dinner Speaking. Lexi Robinson took 4th in Novice Prose. Finally, Delaney Wolf took 2nd place speaker in Novice parliamentary debate.


Several students have this to say about their experience on the 2013-2014 Vanguard Forensics team:


  • “I was skeptical about Forensics when I joined but with the help of our coach Karen Nishie, I have grown not only as a person but also as a student. I’m no longer terrified of public speaking and my confidence has increased since joining.” David Bell, Class of 2016


  • “As an out of state student, being on the Forensics team has allowed me to be part of an Ohana (family) that has truly built me up in many aspects and has given me a sense of belonging when being so far away from home. Through the team I have learned to think critically and on the spot, intellectually and effectively argue, and more importantly learn how to stand up for my Christian values in the political arena.” Jared Sam Agtunong, Class of 2017


  • “Being a part of the forensics team this year didn’t just help me grow competitively or even academically; it helped me grow as a person. From pulling up to our first tournament singing “Radioactive” at the top of our lungs to our last exhausted but victorious moments at Christian Nationals, we were a team–we were in it together. You just don’t find that kind of community in many places.” Alyssa Lax, Class of 2016


This work would not have been possible without Vanguard alumni who volunteered their time, service, and expertise.  Brianna Nishie ‘11 volunteered throughout the entire year to help the team get ready including weekly practices both with debate and with individual events.  Other alumni who also volunteer their time include Kenji Claudio ’12, Chris Hickey ’06, Michael O’Connor ‘13, and James Valdez ‘09.


To learn more about this team or reconnect with other Forensics alumni,
contact Professor Karen Nishie at

1 reply
  1. Ludmila Praslova
    Ludmila Praslova says:

    Congratulations! So happy to for our forensics team, and proud of this demonstration of excellence, commitment, and Vanguard spirit!

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