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Ten Lafayette students returned last week with valuable experience from the National Forensics Association National Tournament at Berry College in Rome, Ga.

Entering the competition on the heels of its most successful season, Lafayette squared off against top schools from across the country April 18-22. The forensics team earned 20 tournament entries in individual events — at least one entry in every event — and eight in Lincoln Douglas debate. Overall participation in the tournament increased this year, with each individual event having at least 15 competitors, including a high of 251 in prose interpretation. Ninety-five students competed in Lincoln Douglas debate, up from 64 last year.

Students competed four times for each individual event at the tournament and six times for each debate entry. Of the Lafayette students within the crowded championship field, Jeremy Bennett ’05 of Riverside, Pa., performed best, advancing to the final round of 32 in Lincoln Douglas debate.

The forensics students and their championship events:
Bennett — Lincoln Douglas debate;
Amy Carson ’02, a double major in English and psychology from Pennington, N.J., — Lincoln Douglas debate, persuasion, prose;
Kenya Flash ’03, a government and law major from Coopersburg, Pa. — informative speaking, poetry, prose;
Erik Heins ’05 of Center Moriches, N.Y. – dramatic duo (with Rachel Korpanty ’04), extemporaneous speaking, impromptu speaking, Lincoln Douglas debate, rhetorical criticism;
Rachel Korpanty ’04, a history major from Summerville, S.C. — after-dinner speaking, dramatic duo (with Heins), poetry, prose;
Paul Kritzler ’05 of Monkton, Md. — Lincoln Douglas debate;
Michael Lestingi ’04, a mechanical engineering major from Tallmadge, Ohio – impromptu speaking, Lincoln Douglas debate, prose, rhetorical criticism;
Pavlos Lykos ’05 of Easton, Pa. – after-dinner speaking, informative speaking, Lincoln Douglas debate;
Jennifer Rusak ’04, a neuroscience major from Ashley, Pa. — informative speaking, Lincoln Douglas debate, persuasion, rhetorical criticism;
Alexander Sarris ’04, a government and law major from Northford, Conn. — Lincoln Douglas debate.

Individual events coach Scott Placke, Lincoln Douglas debate coach Jon Honiball, Cindy Lestingi, and Stacy Seibert traveled with the team as judges.

“I am very proud of this team,” says Placke. “They have worked very hard this year and consequentially they have done well. It is their effort that has earned them everything that they have gotten.”

Students returned to Lafayette upbeat about their championship tournament experience.

“The national competition gave me an opportunity to weigh the skills I developed this year against students from all across the nation, some of whom have much more experience than I do,” said Heins. “Even if I was not winning competitions, I was learning from those who did, and because of that I’ll be a stronger competitor next year.”

“This has been a great year,” said Flash. ” Next year promises to be even better. Unfortunately, we will be missing Amy next year, since she is graduating. I wish her the best of luck.”

“I really enjoy debate,” says Kritzler. “It is a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. This was my first year debating. I am sure that I will enjoy next year as much.”

“I am glad that I had the opportunity to meet speech competitors from all over the country,” Korpanty said.

Last Sunday, Lafayette hosted the fifth annual Spartan Invitational High School Forensics Tournament in conjunction with Southern Lehigh High School in Center Valley, Pa.

Co-hosted by Southern Lehigh forensics coach David Long and Bruce Allen Murphy, Fred Morgan Kirby Professor of Civil Rights and director of forensics at Lafayette, the tournament this year grew to more than 200 high school competitors in all forensics and debate disciplines, including two-person policy debate, from over 20 schools in the New Jersey, Philadelphia, Scranton, and Wilkes Barre region. The tournament has continued to grow because teams are using it as a tune-up for their two national tournaments in May.

“With the campus at its prettiest and abuzz because of Junior Visiting Day, many of the top competitors left expressing a desire to include Lafayette in their list of possible schools for future admission inquiry,” says Murphy.

Categorized in: Academic News