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The Lafayette Forensics Team finished third among 19 teams in the recent West Chester University Rose Bowl Tournament, building on the strong performances of four novice members who each placed in events at their very first competition last month.

Half of the dozen Lafayette students who competed at the tournament Oct. 13-14 placed in at least one event. Erik Heins ’05 (Center Moriches, N.Y.) won second place in novice Lincoln-Douglas debate and fourth place in novice impromptu speaking. Jeremy Bennett ’05 (Riverside, Pa.) finished third place in novice extemporaneous speaking and was a semifinalist in Lincoln-Douglas debate. Michael Lestingi ’04 (Tallmadge, Ohio) took fourth place in both impromptu speaking and rhetorical criticism. Emily Goldberg ’05 (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) earned fourth place in novice poetry reading. Jennifer Rusak ’04 (Ashley, Pa.) received sixth place in persuasive speech. Rachel Korpanty ’04 (Summerville, S.C.) took seventh place in after-dinner speaking.

“As far as I know, this is the best that the team has done at any tournament so far,” says Scott Placke, individual events coach. “It’s set a good tone for the year.”

Other students competing were Jim Azarelo ’03 (Stroudsburg, Pa.), impromptu speaking, poetry reading, and prose reading; Amy Carson ’02 (Pennington, N.J.), Lincoln-Douglas debate, persuasive speaking, and prose reading; Kenya Flash ’03 (Coopersburg, Pa.), poetry reading and prose reading; Rory Hart ’04 (Edison, N.J.), novice Lincoln-Douglas debate; Pavlos Lykos ’05 (Easton, Pa.), novice Lincoln-Douglas debate; and Alexander Sarris ’04 (Northford, Conn.), novice Lincoln-Douglas debate.

To kick off the season, newcomers Aaron Jones ’03 (Rocky Hill, Conn.), Kamaka Martin ’04 (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Goldberg, and Heins traveled to Bloomsburg University Sept. 29. Not only had the students never competed in forensics on the college level, none had any high school experience either. That made their accomplishments even more impressive – with 18 schools competing, each of the Lafayette students made the final rounds of their respective events.

Goldberg took second place in prose reading, Heins finished second in impromptu speaking, and the team of Jones and Martin finished fifth in dramatic duo.

“They did a fantastic job,” said Placke. “Considering that none of them had any experience, it’s pretty amazing that they did so well. Everyone who went into a tournament wound up placing – that doesn’t happen very often.”

Five members of the Forensics Team took part in a 19-team tournament Oct. 20-21 at Towson University. Korpanty and Azarelo took fifth place in dramatic duo. Korpanty also placed fifth in oral interpretation and competed in poetry reading. Azarelo competed in both poetry and prose reading. Carson advanced to the semifinals of Lincoln-Douglas debate and entered the prose reading competition. Heins competed in extemporaneous speaking, impromptu speaking, and Lincoln-Douglas debate.

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

Forensics competition is divided into four categories: limited preparation — impromptu speaking and extemporaneous speaking; full preparation events — persuasive speech, informative speech, after-dinner speaking, and rhetorical criticism; interpretive events –prose reading, poetry reading, dramatic duo, dramatic interpretation, and program oral interpretation; and Lincoln-Douglas debate.

Categorized in: Academic News