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After taking second place in Pennsylvania’s annual championship tournament two weeks ago, the Forensics Society sent three students to the 23rd Novice National Tournament last weekend, coming away with a second-place ranking in the medium school division and the national championship for best speaker.

Competing against teams from across the country, Marquis Scholar Mark Kokoska ’08 (Bloomsburg, Pa.), Julie Kumpan ’08 (Danville, Calif.), and Doug Weltman ’08 (Little Silver, N.J.) represented Lafayette at the 27-team tournament hosted by Morehead State University in Morehead, Ky.

Kokoska was named pentathalon champion of the tournament. Pentathalon qualifiers must be entered in five events, including at least one limited preparation event, one interpretive event, and one fully prepared speech. He earned a similar award at the state championship tournament.

Winning impromptu sales and after-dinner speaking, Kokoska placed second in both extemporaneous and impromptu speech. He competed in informative speech and dramatic duo with Kumpan. Impromptu sales is a limited preparation event that requires a student to sell an object that they have never seen before.

“I think the greatest thing about this weekend was the way it showed how far we have all progressed,” he says. “This tournament was a culmination of all the work that we, as novices, have put in from the start of the year. Seeing how we stack up against the nation really shows the depth and power of the program here at Lafayette.”

In addition to her dramatic duo with Kokoska, Kumpan competed in impromptu sales and prose reading. Weltman was an extemporaneous semi-finalist and competed in impromptu speech, impromptu sales, and Lincoln-Douglas debate.

“I am really proud of how the novices have done this year, especially Mark [Kokoska],” says Scott Placke, director of forensics. “He earned the title of national champion. That is really impressive. He has worked hard all year and has earned everything he has achieved. I am really looking forward to working with him in the future.”

Kokoska addressed the following in the final round of three events:

  • Extemporaneous – “What will be the result of the election in Zimbabwe?”
  • Impromptu – “Experience is the worst teacher; it gives the lesson before imparting any information.”
  • Impromptu sales – “Come back to my old Kentucky home.”

The Forensics Society’s next competition will be the National Forensic Association’s annual championship tournament in April.

Prior tournament reports

Categorized in: Academic News