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The Forensics Society kicked off the 2004-05 season with strong performances at tournaments held the past two weekends in Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

The team took four competitors to the first tournament of the new school year, held Sept. 18-19 at Purdue University. The following weekend, the novice competitors went to their first tournament at Bloomsburg University, while the varsity members traveled to Bowling Green University.

With 24 schools participating, the Purdue Boilermaker Special Tournament was the first speech or debate collegiate competition in the nation for the new season. Erik Heins ’05 (Center Moriches, N.Y.), a double major in philosophy and government & law, finished third in Lincoln-Douglas debate, and also competed in extemporaneous and informative speech. Jeremy Bennett ’05 (Riverside, Pa.), a neuroscience major, and Paul Kritzler ’05 (Monkton, Md.), a government and law major, were both octafinalists (final 16) in Lincoln-Douglas debate. Kritzler also competed in extemporaneous and informative speech.

Also representing Lafayette was Christian Dato ’07 (Poway, Ca.), a double major in history and government & law, who competed in dramatic interpretation, impromptu speech, and Lincoln-Douglas debate.

Scott Placke, director of forensics, attended the tournament with the students.

“Erik’s showing demonstrated, once again, that he is one of the premier debaters in the nation,” Placke says.

“I know the team worked hard over the summer break, and this is where we proved it,” Dato says. “I’m looking forward to watching this momentum work itself up to the amazing levels that I know this team is capable of.”

“For the first tournament of the year, I thought we got off to an excellent start,” Kritzler says. “We pushed ourselves to get a lot of work done early and it paid off.”

Lincoln-Douglas debate is a persuasive policy debate on traditional stock issues. Competitors are evaluated on their analysis, use of evidence, and ability to effectively and persuasively organize, deliver, and refute arguments. This season’s debate resolution states, “Resolved: That the United States federal government should significantly reform the criminal justice system.”

Informative speech contestants give a factual talk from memory for up to ten minutes; visual aids are permitted.

Four Forensics Society members attended the 11-team Bloomsburg Novice Tournament on Sept. 25. Only students new to college forensics competed at the event.

Mark Koska ’08 (Bloomsburg, Pa.) placed third in extemporaneous speech. His final round question was “Can the European Union negotiate military disarmament with Iran?” In extemporaneous speech, contestants select one of three topics on current national and international issues or events and have 30 minutes to prepare a speech of five to seven minutes on it. Koska also competed in impromptu speech.

International Affairs major Jon Alerhand ’06 (Marlboro, N.J.), Mark Ranta ’06 (Beverly, Ma.), a government and law major, and Doug Weltman ’08 (Little Silver, N.J.) also competed in extemporaneous speech.

“I felt like the new members of the team rallied for a decisive first showing of the year,” Kokoska says.

“The tournament was a great opportunity,” Alerhand adds. “I felt very proud representing Lafayette in a competitive atmosphere. It was a valuable experience, and I learned how to perform better in future.”

Also last Saturday, students traveled to Ohio to compete against 14 other schools at Bowling Green University. Lafayette placed second among the schools in Pi Kappa Delta, the national forensics honorary society, and took fourth place overall.

Bennett won Lincoln-Douglas debate. Dato placed second in debate and third in impromptu speech and sales speaking. Heins earned first place in impromptu speech and sales speaking, and third place in extemporaneous speech, and was a quarterfinalist in debate. Kritzler was also a quarterfinalist in debate.

Heins’ final round extemporaneous questions was, “Has recent North Korean missile testing forced Japan to take defensive action?”

Dato’s and Heins’ final round impromptu quotation was, “Beer: Helping ugly people have sex since 3000 B.C.”

Kim Moore ’06 (Longwood, Fla.), a psychology major, placed fifth in sales speaking and was a semifinalist in debate. She also competed in extemporaneous speech and informative speech.

“Taking on early tournaments has always given Lafayette a significant advantage when it comes to being sharp and prepared for our regional tournaments later on in the semester,” Bennett says. “I feel quite confident that the experience we’ve gained here will translate into more success later on down the road.”

“Once again, Lafayette’s Forensics society made a performance indicative of our team’s commitment to each other and the event itself,” Heins says.

Moore adds, “We had a good showing for my first tournament. Coming out with all five of us in the top eight shows that we are only getting stronger as a team.”

“We made another good showing in the Mid-West,” Dato says. “I like the idea of being able to consistently do well outside of our region. This team is creating a reputation for the school that will live long after our powerhouse of seniors has graduated.”

Debate coach Jon Honiball accompanied the students to the tournament.

Members of Forensics Society are active in other areas of campus life as well.

Bennett is president of Lafayette Social Gaming Network; a member of Haven, a student group stressing an alcohol- and drug-free lifestyle, and Lafayette Society for Neuroscience; serves as a tutor for the Academic Counseling Center; and is a squad captain for the varsity fencing team. He is also a Dana Scholar and a Marquis Scholar.

Dato is vice president of the College Democrats, a member of the Social Gaming Network, and Haven. He is a Marquis Scholar.

Heins is president of the Forensics Society, vice president of Haven, and a member of the Social Gaming Network. He is a Trustee Scholar.

Kritzler is vice president of the Forensics Society, a member of the Social Gaming Network and Haven, and is also involved in intramural sports.

Moore is the secretary of College Democrats, serves as a math tutor, and is a member of the Dry Surfers living group, the orchestra, the Psychology Club, and the Biology Club. She is also a Marquis Scholar.

Ranta is a member of the swimming and diving team.

The team’s next competition will be the West Chester Tournament of Roses” Oct. 9-10.

Last season’s national tournament and links to all 2003-04 articles

Categorized in: Academic News