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WKU forensics team wins NFA debate championship, places 2nd in individual events

The WKU forensics team was crowned debate sweepstakes champion and placed second in individual events at the National Forensics Association national championship tournament the weekend of April 18-22 at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va.

The other top five debate schools were Lafayette College in second, Truman State University in third, Rice University in fourth and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in fifth. The nation’s top 10 in individual events were Bradley University, WKU, University of Texas at Austin, Eastern Michigan University, Illinois State University, North-Central College, Ball State University, Miami University, University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire and University of Northern Iowa.

WKU students also captured several individual national championships. Junior Tyler Rife was named the national champion in poetry interpretation, junior Alexis Elliott won the extemporaneous speaking national championship, and senior Susan Taylor won the final round of Lincoln-Douglas debate to be crowned the national debate champion. The final round of debate placed Taylor against Myra Milam from Truman State University, marking the first time in the history of the national tournament that two women competed against one another in the final round.

Three WKU students were ranked among the top 10 overall competitors in the nation. Senior Sarah Brazier placed sixth overall, junior Tyler Rife placed eighth and junior Lindsey White placed 10th.

WKU Director of Forensics Jace Lux was proud of the year’s accomplishments.  “We have a lot to celebrate from this weekend,” he said. “We advanced 63 individual events to quarterfinals, which far surpasses our team’s previous record, and, as far as I am aware, is a national tournament record. Nearly every student on the team advanced an event to at least the quarterfinal round. We advanced all of our debaters to elimination rounds in debate, which is a first. We witnessed a historic final round of Lincoln-Douglas debate pitting two females against one another for the first time. We scored nearly 100 points more than we did last year, and more points than WKU has ever scored at this tournament before, even in years that we’ve won the individual events team sweepstakes championship. So there’s a lot to celebrate, not just from this weekend, but from the year overall.”

Earlier this spring, WKU finished second in the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament and won its 23rd consecutive Kentucky Forensic Association State Tournament.

Lux said that work will begin this week for the 2013-2014 season. “We’ll take a day or so to enjoy our accomplishments, but then we’ll start thinking about next season,” he said. “I’m extremely encouraged by the fact that we are only graduating three seniors this season, and we already have a strong recruiting class on deck for next year. We’re going to do what we can to continue building on the legacy of WKU Forensics, and we’ll try to make WKU and Bowling Green proud.”

The team will conclude its season with its annual forensics banquet in two weeks, hosted by President Gary Ransdell and his wife, Julie.

Individual results from the National Forensic Association National Tournament are as follows:

  • Susan Taylor, a senior from Kansas City, Mo., national champion in Lincoln-Douglas debate and second debate speaker.
  • Tyler Rife, a junior from Dayton, Ohio, national champion in poetry interpretation, sixth in duo interpretation (with Elle Pratt), eighth in pentathalon, semifinalist in prose interpretation, semifinalist in rhetorical criticism and quarterfinalist in informative speaking.
  • Alexis Elliott, a junior from Kansas City, Mo., national champion in extemporaneous speaking, seventh debate speaker, semifinalist in impromptu speaking and quarterfinalist in Lincoln-Douglas debate.
  • Austin Groves, a sophomore from Blue Springs, Mo., second in persuasive speaking, fifth in dramatic interpretation, fifth in prose interpretation and quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Ian Dowty).
  • Richard Heyne, a junior from Sunrise, Fla., second in rhetorical criticism, quarterfinalist in informative speaking and quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Kristina Medero).
  • Janniqua Dawkins, a sophomore from Hollywood, Fla., second in informative speaking, quarterfinalist in after-dinner speaking and quarterfinalist in rhetorical criticism.
  • Sarah Brazier, a senior from Wadsworth, Ohio, third in prose interpretation, fourth in dramatic interpretation, fourth in duo interpretation (with Lindsey White), sixth in pentathalon, semifinalist in poetry interpretation and quarterfinalist in informative speaking.
  • Lindsey White, a junior from St. Paul, Minn., fourth in poetry interpretation, fourth in duo interpretation (with Sarah Brazier), 10th in pentathalon, semifinalist in dramatic interpretation and semifinalist in informative speaking.
  • Emma Collins, a sophomore from Chicago, Ill., second debate speaker, sixth in extemporaneous speaking, quarterfinalist in impromptu speaking and double-octofinalist in Lincoln-Douglas debate.
  • Kristina Medero, a sophomore from Davie, Fla., fourth in persuasive speaking, semifinalist in dramatic interpretation, 14th in pentathalon, quarterfinalist in rhetorical criticism, quarterfinalist in poetry interpretation and quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Richard Heyne).
  • Ray Roberts, a sophomore from Houston, Texas, fifth in poetry interpretation, sixth in dramatic interpretation, semifinalist in prose interpretation and quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Nick Gilyard).
  • Nick Gilyard, a junior from Miami Gardens, Fla., sixth in persuasive speaking, semifinalist in poetry interpretation, semifinalist in informative speaking, 15th in pentathalon, quarterfinalist in after-dinner speaking and quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Ray Roberts).
  • Tyler Prochazka, a sophomore from Newton, Kan., fourth debate speaker and octofinalist in Lincoln-Douglas debate.
  • Nefertiti Dukes, a sophomore from Miami Gardens, Fla., sixth debate speaker, quarterfinalist in impromptu speaking and double-octofinalist in Lincoln-Douglas debate.
  • Elle Pratt, a junior from Fullerton, Calif., sixth in duo interpretation (with Tyler Rife).
  • Rebekah Hall, a freshman from Des Moines, Iowa, semifinalist in extemporaneous speaking, ninth debate speaker and double-octofinalist in Lincoln-Douglas debate.
  • Darius Wilson, a sophomore from Blue Springs, Mo., semifinalist in poetry interpretation and semifinalist in duo interpretation (with Lataya Williams).
  • Lataya Williams, a freshman from Falcon Heights, Minn., semifinalist in duo interpretation (with Darius Wilson).
  • Paige Settles, a freshman from Floyds Knobs, Ind., quarterfinalist in impromptu speaking, quarterfinalist in extemporaneous speaking and quarterfinalist in rhetorical criticism.
  • Layton Garlington, a junior from Ruston, La., quarterfinalist in prose interpretation, quarterfinalist in rhetorical criticism and quarterfinalist in dramatic interpretation.
  • Haddy Badjie, a freshman from Lewisville, Texas, quarterfinalist in informative speaking and quarterfinalist in poetry interpretation.
  • Gabriella Devia-Allen, a junior from Davie, Fla., quarterfinalist in informative speaking and quarterfinalist in dramatic interpretation.
  • Marshall Covert, a junior from St. Paul, Minn., quarterfinalist in rhetorical criticism and quarterfinalist in poetry interpretation.
  • John Corum, a sophomore from Auburn, quarterfinalist in extemporaneous speaking.
  • Meg Cox, a freshman from The Woodlands, Texas, quarterfinalist in informative speaking.
  • Ian Dowty, a sophomore from Valley Center, Kan., quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Austin Groves).
  • Ellis Fraser, a sophomore from Hodgenville, quarterfinalist in impromptu speaking.
  • Jasmine Jones, a freshman from Elizabethtown, quarterfinalist in persuasive speaking.
  • Tiffany Lewis, a junior from Dubach, La., quarterfinalist in Lincoln-Douglas debate.
  • Tiffany McLarty, a sophomore from Bronx, N.Y., quarterfinalist in informative speaking.
  • Jamaque Newberry, a sophomore from Tamarac, Fla., quarterfinalist in poetry interpretation.
  • Spencer Orlowski, a junior from Davie, Fla., quarterfinalist in Lincoln-Douglas debate.
  • Justin Rodriguez, a junior from Coos Bay, Ore., quarterfinalist in prose interpretation.
  • Emma Wilczynski, a junior from Florence, quarterfinalist in persuasive speaking.

More: Check out the WKU Forensics Facebook page.

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

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