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For the second consecutive year, the Forensics Society exhibited strength from both returning and new members by earning first place among schools in Pi Kappa Delta, the national forensics honorary society, at West Chester University’s Tournament of Roses Oct. 9-10.

The team also bettered its overall finish from last year by placing fifth among the 15 total schools participating. The team of 11 students included four novice competitors at the tournament in West Chester, Pa. Six students advanced to the quarterfinals of Lincoln-Douglas debate and three ultimately placed in the top four.

Marquis Scholar Christian Dato ’07 (Poway, Ca.), a history and government & law major, took first place in Lincoln-Douglas debate and also competed in dramatic interpretation and impromptu speech. Marquis Scholar Mark Kokoska ’08 (Bloomsburg, Pa.) finished an impressive second as a college newcomer to Lincoln-Douglas debate, second in novice extemporaneous speech, and fifth in novice impromptu speech. Government and law major Paul Kritzler ’05 (Monkton, Md.) also advanced to the debate semifinals and finished in the top four. Kritzler competed in extemporaneous speech and impromptu speech.

A double major in philosophy and government & law, Trustee Scholar Erik Heins ’05 (Center Moriches, N.Y.) advanced to the debate quarterfinals, placed second in impromptu speech, and competed in extemporaneous speech as well. Dana Scholar and Marquis Scholar Jeremy Bennett ’05 (Riverside, Pa.), a neuroscience major, advanced to the debate quarterfinals. Rounding out the Lincoln-Douglas debate quarterfinalists, Marquis Scholar Kim Moore ’05 (Longwood, Fl.), a psychology major, competed in after dinner speaking, extemporaneous speech, and informative speech.

“I have known for a while that we have a very strong team, especially this year with four seniors, so I would expect that we would do quite well at some tournaments,” says Jon Honiball, debate coach. “Having a first-year student and a sophomore close out the final round just shows how good this team will be for a very long time.

“I also think the true spirit of this team was shown when Jeremy, a senior, allowed Mark, a first-year student, to advance over him to the semifinal round. I think the strong capability of this team was shown when Mark won the semifinal round against a tough competitor. Not bad for someone in their first tournament.”

Kokoska agrees that the team has a promising future. “The entire team competed together for the first time, gelling in a powerful synthesis of speech and debate,” he says. “A strong performance from all involved heralds a dominant coming year for Lafayette forensics.”

“I enjoyed competing in our own circuit for the first time this year,” says Dato. “It’s good to see the old faces and the familiar competition. I think the novices deserve special recognition this tournament for consistently and actively watching the other events to either support our team or to learn for themselves. It’s a good habit to get into, and I’m glad they’ve started off the year on the right foot.”

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.

Joe Borland ’06 (Wilkes Barre, Pa.), a government & law major, took third place in extemporaneous speech and competed in impromptu speech. Borland’s and Kokoska’s final round extemporaneous question was, “Will Tony Blair serve as a catalyst for humanitarian aid in Africa?”

Other competitors included Bill O’Brien ’07 (Elmont, N.Y.), who finished fifth in rhetorical criticism and competed in prose reading; government & law major Greg Plefka ’08 (Holland, Pa.,) who competed in novice extemporaneous speech; Doug Weltman ’08 (Little Silver, N.J.), who competed in novice extemporaneous speech and novice impromptu speech; and Jon Alerhand ’06 (Marlboro, N.J.), an international affairs major, who competed in novice extemporaneous speech and persuasion.

O’Brien was unsure of what to expect from his first tournament of the year.

“I feel I learned a lot this weekend and I am excited to be back in the swing of competing again,” he says. “I’m glad that as a team we were able to compete well in the region, and I look forward to seeing what we can do this year at the different tournaments.”

“West Chester is a nice tournament because it is the first tournament the entire team, both the returning members and the new members, attends,” Moore says. “Even though it was over fall break, the participation was good. I was very impressed with how we did in debate. It was a good improvement over last year since we took both first and second in debate.”

Heins agrees: “West Chester always provides good competition for both novice and varsity divisions. It is great to see each year that both Lafayette’s returning team and the new additions are able to compete with the best in this region.”

In addition to Honiball, Scott Placke, director of forensics, attended the tournament with the students.

The team’s next competition will be at Johns Hopkins University Oct. 23-24.

The Forensics Society members are active in other campus groups as well.

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

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

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

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

Moore is secretary for College Democrats, serves as a math tutor, and is a member of the orchestra, the Psychology Club, the Biology Club, and the Dry Surfers, a technology-oriented and substance-free living group.

O’Brien is a member of College Republicans and the Dry Surfers, a campus tour guide, a writer for The Lafayette, and a participant in the Marquis Players, a student-run organization that provides students the opportunity to be involved with theatrical productions while raising funds for charity.

Categorized in: Academic News