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The Lafayette Forensics Team walked away with eighth place in the Lincoln-Douglas Debate at the National Forensics Association National Tournament April 19-23 at Western Kentucky University.

A total of 21 teams and 68 students competed. Team rankings at the event are comprised of the placement of a team’s top three competitors. Of the six Lafayette students at the overall tournament, three participated in Lincoln-Douglas. Lafayette’s accomplishment in Lincoln-Douglas is magnified by the youth of its group — two first-year students and one sophomore — and the fact that the Forensics Team only formed in the spring of 1999. It had never competed in the Lincoln-Douglas tournament before.

The Lincoln-Douglas team was Michael Lestingi ’04 (Tallmadge, Ohio), Jennifer Rusak ’04 (Ashley, Pa.), and Brandt Siegel ’03 (Marysville, Ohio). They also competed in individual events at the tournament, along with Devan Theiler ’04 (Bridgewater, N.J), Rachel Korpanty ’04 (Summerville, S.C.), and Amy Carson ’02 (Pennington, N.J.).

Lafayette’s director of forensics is Bruce Allen Murphy, the Fred Morgan Kirby Professor of Civil Rights. Scott Placke is individual events coach and Jonathan Honiball is debate coach. Placke competed for and later coached at Purdue University, while Honiball competed for and later coached St. Anselm’s College.

Honiball provides this summary of the Lincoln-Douglas students’ tournament performance:

“Michael Lestingi went 4-2 in the preliminary rounds and placed 17th in the nation. This was quite a successful year for Michael, who also was in three final rounds of large tournaments. This was easily one of the best years by any first-year student in the nation.

“Jennifer Rusak went 3-3 in the preliminary rounds and placed 35th in the nation. Jennifer regularly beat nationally ranked opponents at various tournaments.

“Brandt Siegel went 3-3 in the preliminary rounds and placed 33rd in the nation. Brandt, our lone second-year student, consistently performed at a high level this year and at the national tournament beat the Pennsylvania State Debate Champion.”

Previous 2000-01 Reports:

Forensics Society Gains Highest Finish Ever at Pennsylvania State Championships Feb. 17-18

First-Year Students Lead Forensics Society in Boston Swing Tournament Feb.3-4

Forensics Society Places First in Small-College Division at Ohio State Holiday Frolic Tournament Dec. 1-2

Suffolk University, Oct. 28-29, and St. Anselm’s College, Nov. 4

Bloomsburg University, Sept. 30, and West Chester University’s Rose Bowl Tournament Oct. 14-15

Categorized in: Academic News