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Lafayette Forensics Society members Michael Lestingi ’04 (Tallmadge, Ohio), Jennifer Rusak ’04 (Ashley, Pa.), and Brandt Siegel ’03 (Marysville, Ohio) placed eighth in the country in Lincoln-Douglas Debate at the National Forensics Association (NFA) National Tournament April 19-23 at Western Kentucky University.

“Michael went 4-2 in the preliminary rounds and placed 17th in the nation. He had easily one of the best years by any first-year student in the nation. He also was in final rounds of three large previous tournaments,” says Lafayette debate coach Jonathan Honiball, who competed for and later coached St. Anselm’s College.

“Brandt placed 33rd in the nation, going 3-3 in the preliminary rounds, including a win over the Pennsylvania State debate champion. Our lone second-year student, he consistently performed at a high level this year,” Honiball continues. “Jennifer was 35th in the nation, also going 3-3 in the preliminary rounds. She regularly beat nationally ranked opponents at tournaments this year.”

The NFA Lincoln-Douglas competition included 68 students representing 21 teams. NFA Lincoln-Douglas is a one-person, persuasive, policy debate on traditional stock issues in which competitors are evaluated on their analysis, use of evidence, and ability to effectively and persuasively organize, deliver, and refute arguments. Team rankings are comprised of the placement of a team’s top three competitors.

Lestingi, Siegel, and Rusak also participated in individual events at the national tournament, as did Amy Carson ’02 (Pennington, N.J.), Rachel Korpanty ’04 (Summerville, S.C.), and Devan Theiler ’04 (Bridgewater, N.J).

Lestingi and Siegel participated in impromptu speaking, Rusak in informative speaking and persuasive speaking, and Carson and Korpanty in prose. Korpanty and Lestingi, Korpanty and Theiler, and Lestingi and Siegel paired up in dramatic duo events.

The Forensics Team includes four sophomores who qualified for Nationals, but were unable to attend because of class commitments, Emily Murphy (Center Valley, Pa.), Alison Hindenlang (Randolph, N.J.), Kenya Flash (Coopersburg, Pa.), and Jim Azarelo (Stroudsburg, Pa.).

The National Tournament capped a very successful year for Lafayette in what was just the third season of competition for the Forensics Society.

“The fine performance of this team attending Nationals — which consisted of one junior, one sophomore, and four freshmen — in events that numbered sometimes between 200 and 400 competitors from around the country, bodes well for the team’s future development,” says Lafayette’s director of forensics, Bruce Allen Murphy, the Fred Morgan Kirby Professor of Civil Rights.

“The 2000-01 season represents an excellent foundation from which to further build Lafayette’s forensics team,” adds Lafayette’s individual events coach, H. Scott Placke, who competed for and later coached at Purdue University.

In February, Lestingi helped lead the team to fifth place in the Open Division Team Sweepstakes — its best finish ever — at the Pennsylvania State Individual Events Association Championships.

On Saturday, April 28, the Forensics Society hosted the Fifth Annual Spartan Invitational High School Tournament, organized by coach David Long of Southern Lehigh High School in Center Valley, Pa. The tournament consisted of more than 150 competitors from 17 schools in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in Lincoln-Douglas Debate and individual events.

“The excitement generated on Lafayette’s campus by the developing Forensics Team, the innovative activities of the Aaron O. Hoff Award-winning Lafayette Communications Union, and the Spartan Invitational Tournament continues to show the effect of Lafayette’s commitment to communications activities on this campus. I very much look forward to seeing the impact that our young team will have on this campus in future years,” says Murphy.

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