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The Forensics Society finished third among 26 teams last weekend at the Bloomsburg Mad Hatter Tournament in Bloomsburg, Pa.

“I’m really proud of this team,” says Scott Placke, director of forensics. “They continually wow me with their talent.”

Junior Michael Lestingi, a mechanical engineering major from Centerville, Ohio, set the pace with a first place finish in Lincoln Douglas debate for the second straight year, and a second place finish in impromptu speech. Erik Heins, a sophomore from Center Moriches, N.Y., followed suit by winning the blue ribbon in impromptu speech.

Junior Rachel Korpanty, a history major from Summerville, S.C., and Benjamin Berlow, a first-year student from Palmerton, Pa., paired up for a second place finish in dramatic duo. Korpanty also took fourth in after dinner speaking and original poetry.

Colby Block, a first-year student from Boca Raton, Fl., scored a third place finish in poetry.

Other Lafayette students competing at the Bloomsburg tournament included Joseph Borland, a first-year student from Wilkes Barre, Pa.; Ryan Sundra, a first-year student from Hazleton, Pa.; Devan Theiler, a junior government and law major from Bridgewater, N.J.; Sandra Welch, a first-year student from Philadelphia; and Scott Wisniewski, a first-year student from Olyphant, Pa.

“There were no novice divisions at the tournament,” notes Placke. “All first-year competitors competed against individuals who had competed before. Both Berlow and Block placed highly against seasoned competitors.”

The impromptu bracket had 78 contestants, a “huge” number of entries, he adds.

“It broke to semifinal rounds and then went to finals,” says Placke. “Erik and Michael competed
against each other in the same semifinal round and advanced to the final round — a particularly hard thing to do since only three of six competitors will advance out of a semifinal round to a final.”

“I really believe we have the potential to be a great team,” says Wisniewski. “Our upperclassmen have demonstrated exceptional talents, and novices were able to hold their own in many events.”

In addition to the Bloomsburg tournament, two Forensics Society members traveled to St. Anselm’s College in Manchester, N.H., last weekend to compete in Lincoln Douglas debate. Jeremy Bennett, a sophomore neuroscience major from Riverside, Pa., and Paul Kritzler, a sophomore history major from Monkton, Md., finished 17 and 18, respectively, in the 14-team field.

“At a national level debate tournament, Jeremy and Paul did extremely well,” says Jonathan Honiball, debate coach.

This weekend, several members of the team will travel to the New York University Skyline tournament.

Lafayette’s Forensics Society got off to a strong start this season as a group of nine first-year students 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 team went on to place third at the West Chester Rose Bowl Tournament in October.

Forensics Society 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.

Categorized in: Academic News