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Forensics team begins spring semester with win at AFA district tournament

Twenty-three members of WKU’s forensics team kicked off competition for the spring semester by traveling to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to compete in two tournaments hosted on the campus of the University of Alabama.

WKU earned first place in team sweepstakes at both tournaments, qualifying 24 new events for the national tournament in April. WKU topped a number of large schools to win top honors at the tournaments this weekend, including University of Alabama, University of Florida, Louisiana State University, Tennessee State University, Belmont University and Florida State University.

The first tournament of the weekend was the American Forensic Association District Six National Qualifying Tournament. WKU Director of Forensics Jace Lux is happy with the way the semester started. “There are only nine districts in the nation, and each has an annual district tournament,” he said. “To win ours is a huge accomplishment, a great way to start the semester, and hopefully, a predictor of success at the national tournament in April.”

Lux is also pleased with the team’s academic accomplishments during the fall semester. “Out of 38 total students, 17 earned a 3.7 or better GPA. Nine of those students had a perfect 4.0 in the fall,” he said. “When you think about how much these students travel away from campus for competitions, and how much extra work for forensics they have on top of their schoolwork, it’s pretty amazing what they accomplished in the classroom last fall.”

This semester, team members will travel to Alabama, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma and West Virginia before wrapping up the semester at the national tournament hosted by Hutchinson Community College in April. The team will split two ways this coming weekend, sending groups of students to Chicago and St. Louis for competition.

Results from the District-6 AFA Qualifier/”Black Warrior” Invitational are as follows:

  • Kristina Medero, a sophomore from Davie, Fla., tournament champion in persuasive speaking and tournament champion in duo interpretation (with Richard Heyne) at the Black Warrior tournament; fourth in duo interpretation (with Richard Heyne) sixth in persuasive speaking and seventh in communication analysis at the district tournament.
  • Nefertiti Dukes, a sophomore from Miami Gardens, Fla., tournament champion in informative speaking and second in extemporaneous speaking at the district tournament; tournament champion in extemporaneous speaking and second in informative speaking at the Black Warrior tournament.
  • Lataya Williams, a freshman from Falcon Heights, Minn., tournament champion in programmed oral interpretation and second in duo interpretation (with Darius Wilson) at the Black Warrior tournament; tournament champion in programmed oral interpretation and third in duo interpretation (with Darius Wilson) at the district tournament.
  • Richard Heyne, a junior from Sunrise, Fla., tournament champion in duo interpretation (with Kristina Medero) and second in extemporaneous speaking at the Black Warrior tournament; fourth in duo interpretation (with Kristina Medero) and fifth in extemporaneous speaking at the district tournament.
  • Layton Garlington, a junior from Ruston, La., tournament champion in duo interpretation (with Tiffany McLarty) second in dramatic interpretation and fifth in prose interpretation at the district tournament.
  • Darius Wilson, a sophomore from Blue Springs, Mo., tournament champion in poetry interpretation and third in duo interpretation (with Lataya Williams) at the district tournament; second in duo interpretation (with Lataya Williams) and fifth in duo interpretation (with Austin Groves) at the Black Warrior tournament.
  • Emma Collins, a sophomore from Chicago, Ill., tournament champion in after-dinner speaking, fourth in extemporaneous speaking and sixth in impromptu speaking at the district tournament.
  • Janniqua Dawkins, a sophomore from Hollywood, Fla., tournament champion in communication analysis at the district tournament; second in persuasive speaking at the Black Warrior tournament.
  • Rebekah Hall, a freshman from Des Moines, Iowa, tournament champion in extemporaneous speaking at the district tournament; third in extemporaneous speaking and fourth in impromptu speaking at the Black Warrior tournament.
  • Justin Rodriguez, a junior from Coos Bay, Ore., tournament champion in prose interpretation at the district tournament; fifth in persuasive speaking and fifth in dramatic interpretation at the Black Warrior tournament.
  • Laura Myers, a senior from Goodlettsville, Tenn., tournament champion in after-dinner speaking at the Black Warrior tournament; fifth in persuasive speaking and sixth in communication analysis at the district tournament.
  • Sarah Brazier, a senior from Wadsworth, Ohio, tournament champion in communication analysis at the Black Warrior tournament; fifth in duo interpretation (with Nicholas Gilyard) at the district tournament.
  • Tiffany McLarty, a sophomore from Bronx, N.Y., tournament champion in duo interpretation (with Layton Garlington) at the district tournament.
  • Marshall Covert, a junior from St. Paul, Minn., second in poetry interpretation, third in communication analysis and third in after-dinner speaking at the district tournament; second in communication analysis, fourth in poetry interpretation and sixth in after-dinner speaking at the Black Warrior tournament.
  • Elle Pratt, a junior from Fullerton, Calif., second in prose interpretation and second in dramatic interpretation at the Black Warrior tournament; third in prose interpretation at the district tournament.
  • Ellis Fraser, a sophomore from Hodgenville, second in communication analysis at the district tournament.
  • Tyler Prochazka, a sophomore from Newton, Kan., third in extemporaneous speaking at the district tournament; fourth in extemporaneous speaking at the Black Warrior tournament.
  • Susan Taylor, a senior from Kansas City, Mo., third in impromptu speaking and sixth in informative speaking at the district tournament.
  • Ashton Garber, a freshman from Osprey, Fla., fourth in poetry interpretation and fifth in dramatic interpretation at the district tournament; third in dramatic interpretation at the Black Warrior tournament.
  • Nick Gilyard, a junior from Miami Gardens, Fla., fourth in after-dinner speaking and fifth in duo interpretation (with Sarah Brazier) at the district tournament.
  • Austin Groves, a sophomore from Blue Springs, Mo., fifth in duo interpretation (with Darius Wilson) and sixth in dramatic interpretation at the Black Warrior tournament.
  • Spencer Orlowski, a junior from Davie, Fla., seventh in persuasive speaking at the district tournament.

More: Check out the WKU Forensic Facebook page.

Contact: Jace Lux, (270) 745-6340.

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