The WKU Forensics Team placed second at the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament championship, hosted this year by the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, over the April 1-4 weekend.
WKU sent 26 competitors with a total of 66 entries to the national tournament. Of the 66 total entries, 37 advanced to quarterfinal rounds, 25 advanced to the semifinal round, and 14 events made it to the final rounds of competition. Last year, the team fielded 36 quarterfinalists and 24 semifinalists.
WKU placed second in team sweepstakes with 529 points, and the University of Texas at Austin placed first with 581.5 points. George Mason University placed third with 388 points. Other top 10 schools included Bradley University, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, the University of Alabama, Arizona State University, Wiley College, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Illinois State University and the University of Northern Iowa. The AFA National Individual Events Tournament hosted 70 schools this year, with nearly 1,500 entries.
In addition to the team’s success, forensics team members captured three of the top 15 individual sweepstakes awards. Senior Paige Settles placed fifth overall, senior Haddy Badjie placed seventh, and senior Lataya Williams was named 14th overall.
“This is one of the best groups I have ever had the privilege of working with,” said WKU Director of Forensics Ganer Newman. “I can honestly say they gave a championship effort. Our competitors even had a stronger showing than they did last year when we won the national title. I’m really proud of the students on this team for their work and what they accomplished this weekend! Congratulations to the University of Texas at Austin for their success. We will now direct our focus on the defending our titles at the National Forensics Association championship tournament. Our students are poised to build on the success of this weekend and keep the championship on The Hill!”
The team is preparing for the final national tournament, the National Forensic Association National Speech and Debate Tournament, hosted in one week at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.
The AFA national tournament offers individual events such as dramatic interpretation of literature, limited preparation and public speaking. The NFA national tournament allows competitors to compete in debate as well as the individual events. Newman said the team hopes to bring back the NFA team championships in debate and individual events.
Earlier this spring, WKU won its 24th consecutive Kentucky Forensic Association championship.
Individual results from the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament are as follows:
- Carolyn Evans, a senior from Urbandale, Iowa, national champion in extemporaneous speaking and third in impromptu speaking.
- Haddy Badjie, a senior from Lewisville, Texas, second in informative speaking, third in poetry interpretation, seventh in individual sweepstakes, semifinalist in communication analysis and semifinalist in persuasive speaking.
- Lataya Williams, a senior from Falcon Heights, Minnesota, second in programmed oral interpretation, fourth in poetry interpretation and 14th in individual sweepstakes.
- Paige Settles, a senior from Floyds Knobs, Indiana, third in communication analysis, third in extemporaneous speaking, fourth in impromptu speaking, fifth in individual sweepstakes and semifinalist in persuasive speaking.
- Lyric Davis, a sophomore from Blue Springs, Missouri, third in after-dinner speaking, quarterfinalist in dramatic interpretation, quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Durwan Green) and quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Blake Knapp).
- Andrea Ambam, a freshman from Peculiar, Missouri, fifth in after-dinner speaking and fifth in programmed oral interpretation.
- Blake Knapp, a sophomore from Blue Springs, Missouri, fifth in duo interpretation (with Brent O’Connor), quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Lyric Davis) and quarterfinalist in poetry interpretation.
- Camille Acosta, a junior from El Paso, Texas, fifth in dramatic interpretation and semifinalist in programmed oral interpretation.
- Brent O’Connor, a junior from Plantation, Florida, fifth in duo interpretation (with Blake Knapp) and quarterfinalist in poetry interpretation.
- Lauren Sledge, a junior from Bowling Green, sixth in persuasive speaking, quarterfinalist in after-dinner speaking and quarterfinalist in informative speaking.
- Jasmine Jones, a senior from Elizabethtown, semifinalist in informative speaking and quarterfinalist in communication analysis.
- Bailey Rung, a sophomore from Blaine, Minnesota, semifinalist in impromptu speaking and quarterfinalist in extemporaneous speaking.
- Sam Moore, a sophomore from Blue Springs, Missouri, semifinalist in dramatic interpretation.
- Brian Anderson, a freshman from Hodgenville, semifinalist in extemporaneous speaking.
- Ashton Garber, a senior from Osprey, Florida, semifinalist in informative speaking.
- Tiffany McLarty, a senior from Bronx, New York, semifinalist in after-dinner speaking.
- Allison Williams, a sophomore from Memphis, Tennessee, quarterfinalist in dramatic interpretation and quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Curtis Milby).
- Durwan Green, a sophomore from Lewisville, Texas, quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Lyric Davis).
- Curtis Milby, a sophomore from Hodgenville, quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Allison Williams).
- Lily Nellans, a sophomore from Des Moines, Iowa, quarterfinalist in extemporaneous speaking.
Contact: Ganer Newman, (270) 745-6340