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The Forensics Society continued its run of strong performances this season at tournaments in Maryland and Pennsylvania the past two weekends.

The team placed third overall and second among schools in Pi Kappa Delta, the national forensics honorary society, at the 36th annual Bloomsburg University Mad Hatter Tournament Oct. 29-30. The team placed fifth among 17 schools Oct. 23-24 at the Johns Hopkins University tournament in Baltimore, Md.

Team members at the tournaments combined for a total of 27 semifinal appearances, 15 finishes of fourth place or better, and five first-place finishes.

Last weekend at the Mad Hatter tournament, Lafayette competitors dominated Lincoln-Douglas debate, taking first through fourth place. Marquis Scholar Jeremy Bennett ’05 (Riverside, Pa.), a neuroscience major, took first place in debate and Trustee Scholar Erik Heins ’05 (Center Moriches, N.Y.), a double major in philosophy and government & law, took second. Third-place finisher Doug Weltman ’08 (Little Silver, N.J.), an international affairs major, also competed in extemporaneous speech and impromptu speech. Paul Kritzler ’05 (Monkton, Md.), a government & law major, completed Lafayette’s debate awards with a fourth-place finish. He also took second place in informative speech and sixth in extemporaneous speech.

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.

“Bloomsburg proved to me that Lafayette Forensics can take on the best competitors in the nation,” says Heins, who also took first place in impromptu speech and second place in extemporaneous speech. “We were able to get more breaks to out rounds than any other team at the tournament. I’m sure that we will turn some heads.”

The final-round impromptu speech quotation was the Chinese proverb, “Giving up morality for ambition is like burning a hole in a picture to get the ashes.”

Finishing second behind Heins in impromptu speech, Joe Borland ’06 (Wilkes Barre, Pa.), a government & law major, also took first in extemporaneous speech and third in persuasion.

“The Bloomsburg Mad Hatter was a great success for Lafayette Forensics,” says Bill O’Brien ’07 (Elmont, N.Y.), who won communication analysis, placed second in persuasion, and competed in prose reading. “To go through the tough competition and still have the amount of success that we did is a testament to this team. Every single person made a contribution that they can all be proud of.”

His communication analysis speech studied the persuasive message of suicide as protest rhetoric as it specifically relates to Afghani women’s deliberate sacrifice by fire to protest the male-dominated society.

“We did better this year then ever before, and we had more people break into final rounds. This shows that, as a team, we are improving each year. Having so many first- and second-place finishes shows that we have successful coaches and are able to work as a team,” says Kim Moore ’05 (Longwood, Fl.). The psychology major competed in after dinner speaking and earned fifth-place finishes in extemporaneous speech, informative speech, and persuasion.

Marquis Scholar Mark Kokoska ’08 (Bloomsburg, Pa.) finished fifth in duo interpretation with Julie Kumpan ’08 (Danville, Ca.), a history major, sixth in impromptu speech, and competed in extemporaneous speech and debate. He placed fifth in the pentathlon, a ranking of those who compete in five or more events. In addition to partnering with Kokoska, Kumpan competed in impromptu speech and debate.

Mark Ranta ’06 (Beverly, Ma.), a government & law major, competed in after dinner speaking and extemporaneous speech.

“Bloomsburg was the last time we’ll see a lot of our local competitors for about a month. It was good to see them for a last time, although now we have to start looking forward and preparing for St. Anselm’s College, which will be an entirely different crowd. That’s one of the things about this activity – you always have to be thinking forward,” says Marquis Scholar Christian Dato ’07 (Poway, Ca.), a history and government & law major. He competed in duo interpretation with Heins, after dinner speaking, dramatic interpretation, and impromptu speech.

Director of Forensics Scott Placke accompanied the students to the Mad Hatter tournament.

At Johns Hopkins University, Kritzler took first place in Lincoln-Douglas debate. He also competed in extemporaneous speech and informative speech. Dato won second place in debate, advanced to the semifinals in impromptu speech, and competed in dramatic interpretation.

Also representing Lafayette, Steve Frank ’08 (Huntington Station, N.Y.), a government & law major, advanced to the impromptu speech semifinals and competed in extemporaneous speech. Weltman was a debate semifinalist.

“The competition was stiff, yet we did well,” says Weltman, who also competed in extemporaneous speech and impromptu speech. “It was a successful weekend that was a product of careful preparation and dedication on the part of both the team members and the coaches.”

Along with Placke, debate coach Jon Honiball accompanied the team at the tournament. He is proud of the students’ consistent effort.

“Overall, we have been in the final round of every tournament this year,” Honiball says. “Even more amazing is that every weekend, it is a different debater winning.”

Other notable finishes at Johns Hopkins University included Kokoska’s fourth-place finish in impromptu speech. He also competed in extemporaneous speech, informative speech, and debate. O’Brien placed fifth in communication analysis, sixth in persuasion, and sixth in prose reading.

Kumpan competed in debate and impromptu speech. Borland competed in extemporaneous speech and impromptu speech.

The team is competing this weekend St. Anselm’s College.

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 group that produces an annual musical to raise funds for charities.

Ranta is a member of the swimming and diving team.

Categorized in: Academic News