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A group of nine first-year students in Lafayette Forensics Society earned the top three places in extemporaneous speech, scored the top two honors in impromptu speech, and won several other commendations in a 17-team field at the Bloomsburg Novice Tournament Sept. 28.

The Bloomsburg Novice Tournament is for students who have never competed in college forensics. Lafayette’s novice team includes first-year students Rodrigue Alexandre of North Miami, Fla.; Benjamin Berlow of Palmerton, Pa.; Colby Block of Boca Raton, Fla.; Joe Borland of Wilkes Barre, Pa.; Tyler Cohn of Wantagh, N.Y.; Kim Moore of Sandy, Utah; Ryan Sundra of Hazleton, Pa.; Sandra Welch of Philadelphia, Pa.; and Scott Wisniewski of Olyphant, Pa.

Borland, Alexandre, and Moore swept the extemporaneous event, winning first, second, and third places, respectively; while Borland and Moore took first and second place in impromptu speech.

Block stole the limelight with a first-place finish in prose reading and paired up with Cohn to win third in dramatic duo. Berlow won second place in the poetry competition, and Wisniewski enjoyed a third-place finish in persuasive speech.

Scott Placke, director of forensics, and third-year Forensics Society member Rachel Korpanty, a history major from Summerville, S.C., accompanied the team.

”We have much talent and skill on our team, and with the proper dedication, we are set to sweep the east coast,” says Placke.

”I am very excited about our new members,” adds Korpanty. ”To take home the top three awards in extemporaneous and top two awards in impromptu is very impressive.”

The new team members also are enthusiastic about their victory and are looking forward to upcoming competitions.

”It is a wonderful feeling to be part of such a talented group of individuals,” says Block.

His teammate Alexandre agrees: ”The Lafayette team is definitely on its way to the top. I’m so proud to be a member of such a promising program.”

In addition, three veteran Forensics Society members attended the Show Me Swing Tournament hosted by Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo. last weekend, competing in Lincoln Douglas Debate among 20 schools, including last year’s national champion, Bradley College. Erik Heins ’05 (Center Moriches, N.Y.) made it to the final 16. Also competing were mechanical engineering major Michael Lestingi ’04 (Tallmadge, Ohio) and history major Paul Kritzler ’05 (Monkton, Md.).

“It was wonderful to compete in a field of national debaters of the highest caliber, and to hold our own against them,” says Lestingi.

“This year’s topic is exciting,” says Heins. “This tournament helped me to see the possibilities to come.”

The debates centered on the following statement: “Resolved: That the United States Federal Government should significantly increase assistance to United States residents living below the poverty line.”

The students were accompanied by Jon Honiball, Lincoln Douglas debate coach.

Forensics Society’s next competition will be Oct. 12-13 at the Tournament of Roses hosted by West Chester University.

The group scored its highest finish ever at the Pennsylvania State Individual Events Association Championships Feb. 16-17 last school year and continued its remarkable ascent with a second-place finish at the Collegiate Forensics Association Tournament March 2-3 in Ocean City, Md. Nine students competed in 17 speech events and eight debate events at the National Forensics Association Championship Tournament April 18-22 at Berry College in Mount Berry, Ga.

Forensics Society also won an historic victory last season, defeating 10 other teams Nov. 3 to win the St. Anselm College Jack Lynch Tournament in Manchester, N.H.

Categorized in: Academic News