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First-year student Joe Borland of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., won a national championship in one event and was runner-up in another at the 21st annual Novice National Forensics Tournament March 1-2.

Borland won the title in extemporaneous speaking and placed second in impromptu speech. He spearheaded an outstanding team effort for Forensics Society, which finished second in its bracket despite having only three competitors entered in the tournament.

Kim Moore ’06 of Sandy, Utah, placed third in Lincoln-Douglas debate and seventh in after-dinner speaking. Colby Block ’06 of Boca Raton, Fla., finished sixth in dramatic interpretation and advanced to the semi-finals in impromptu speech and prose reading.

Held at Cameron College in Lawton, Okla., the tournament included 27 teams from colleges and universities around the nation. The participants were all first-year competitors.

For overall team scoring, each school was placed in a division based on its number of entries in the tournament.

“Our performance would have qualified for third place even in the largest bracket, which is pretty amazing considering we only brought three students and 14 entries,” says Scott Placke, Lafayette’s director of forensics. “Many schools brought 10-to-15-person teams and participated in as many as 45 events.

“I am very proud of the first-year students,” Placke says.”They began their season fiercely at the Bloomsburg Tournament back in September. Since then, they have worked hard at improving their skills. Each student has incredible talent. They have shown time and again that they are capable of representing Lafayette’s name on a national level.”

In other individual events, Borland participated in impromptu sales and persuasive speech, Moore in extemporaneous speaking and impromptu speaking, and Block in impromptu sales and poetry reading. Borland and Block also teamed up in dramatic duo.

For overall team awards, each school was placed in a division based on its number of entries in the tournament.

Competing against peers from different parts of the country has exposed the Lafayette students to different styles, says Borland, helping them grow as speakers.

“I truly enjoyed my time at Novice Nationals,” says Block. “It was a great learning experience for the whole team. We not only gained a lot of insight, but we bonded through the spirit of team competition.”

“Coming to this competition, I had no idea what to expect, and I was very pleased with how we did as a team,” adds Moore.

This weekend, Forensics Society will travel to Nassau Community College in Long Island, N.Y., to participate in its final tournament of the season before the annual National Forensics Association championship tournament.

In its previous competition, Forensics Society took second place at the Pennsylvania State Forensics Association’s State Championship Tournament Feb. 15-16 at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

The team 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 and third again among 26 teams at the Bloomsburg Mad Hatter Tournament in November.

In January, Forensics Society took first place in Lincoln-Douglas debate within a field of more than 25 schools at a tournament hosted by Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. Some of the top schools and competitors in the nation participated in the tournament.

Competing in a field of 36 schools at a major national tournament hosted by University of Texas-Austin Jan. 11-12, Forensics Society member Erik Heins ’05 of Center Moriches, N.Y., made it to the semifinal round of 12 in impromptu speech. He finished just one spot shy of reaching the finals.

Last school year, 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