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Performances during the first two competitions of 2005 indicate continual growth among members of the Forensics Society.

Seven students traveled to Ithaca, N.Y., two weekends ago for Cornell University’s Tournament of Love. The team placed fourth overall with several participants earning high marks for their performances.

Trustee Scholar Erik Heins ’05 (Center Moriches, N.Y.), a double major in philosophy and government & law, placed second in extemporaneous speech. His final-round question was, “What will the political implications of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s recent action be?” He also competed in impromptu speech.

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.

Mark Kokoska ’08 (Bloomsburg, Pa.) finished third in impromptu speech and placed sixth in extemporaneous speech and in dramatic duo with Julie Kumpan ’08 (Danville, Calif.).

Kokoska’s final-round impromptu quotation was, “You ‘gotsta’ ‘positive’ the negative. When life throws a pie in your face, you make a nice big glass of ‘pie-monade’,” and his final round extemporaneous questions was, “Should Boeing worry about McCain’s investigation into defense procurement contracts?”

“I think the success of this tournament bodes well for the coming competitive season,” says Kokoska, who also competed in informative speech.

“The tournament was well run and efficient,” adds Heins. “I am really glad that Mark joined the team this year. He is an awesome competitor and he embodies true Lafayette spirit. I’m proud of his success this weekend.”

Bill O’Brien ’07 (Elmont, N.Y.) and Paul Kritzler ’05 (Monkton, Md.), a government and law major, placed second and fifth, respectively, in communication analysis. O’Brien also finished fifth in persuasion and participated in the prose reading competition, while Kritzler competed in both extemporaneous and informative speech.

“Cornell was a good experience for the entire team,” O’Brien says. “The beginning-of-the-semester tournaments are always important since they allow us to get back into the swing of things. I am very proud of how I did personally and how the team did as a whole.”

Other students who competed in the tournament include Marquis Scholar Kim Moore ’05 (Longwood, Fla.), a psychology major, who placed fifth in extemporaneous speech and participated in after-dinner speaking, persuasion, and informative speech, and Doug Weltman ’08 (Little Silver, N.J.), who competed in extemporaneous and impromptu speech.

Four members attended the first tournament of the new year, hosted Jan. 8-9 by the University of Texas at Austin.

With more than 40 teams, it was “the most impressive and difficult speech tournament I have ever attended, outside of a national championship,” says Scott Placke, director of forensics. “Only the best competitors were there.”

Marquis Scholar Christian Dato ’07 (Poway, Calif.), a double major in history and government & law, was a semi-finalist in impromptu speech, and O’Brien placed fifth in communication analysis.

“This tournament was everything I had hoped for and more,” says O’Brien, who also competed in informative speech, prose reading, and persuasion. “I was told coming in that this would feature the ‘best of the best’ in the nation and that is exactly what we got to see. The extraordinarily high levels of competition allowed for a great educational experience.”

“This tournament very closely represents what I hoped for when I joined this team — intense competition, a mind-blowing education, an unbreakable community, and a Texas-sized helping of fun,” Dato adds.

Also representing Lafayette at the tournament were Heins, who competed in dramatic duo with Dato, and extemporaneous and impromptu speech, and Kokoska, who competed in extemporaneous, impromptu, and informative speech.

The team’s most recent competition was hosted by West Chester University this past weekend.

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

Dato is vice president of College Democrats, a member of the Social Gaming Network, and a member of Haven, a student group stressing an alcohol- and drug-free lifestyle.

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

O’Brien is a member of College Republicans and the Dry Surfers, a technology-oriented and substance-free living group, 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.

Moore is secretary for College Democrats, serves as a campus tour guide and a March After-School Help tutor through the Landis Community Outreach Center, and is a member of the orchestra, the Psychology Club, the Biology Club, and the Dry Surfers

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

Kokoska is a member of the Table Tennis Club.

Prior tournaments

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

Categorized in: Academic News