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Led by first-place finishes from Beth Wehler ’09 (Gettysburg, Pa.) and Bill O’Brien ’07 (Elmont, N.Y.), Forensics Society placed fourth at a tournament hosted by Nassau Community College in East Meadow, N.Y., this past weekend. Teams from 14 colleges and universities attended the competition.

Lafayette students produced strong performances throughout the event. A Trustee Scholar, Wehler finished first in Lincoln-Douglas debate and competed in poetry reading. O’Brien, a history major, took first in rhetorical criticism, fourth in informative speech, and competed in persuasive speech.

“This tournament provided a challenging, competitive speech atmosphere, which the Lafayette forensics team both succeeded in and learned from,” Wehler says. “The small debate pool allowed for more experience and practice utilizing negative strategies. The team was very supportive of all its members and added to an enjoyable combination of novice and varsity members. Overall, the Nassau Community College tournament allowed Lafayette to show great strength and cohesion as a forensics team.”

“This tournament was yet again a great success for the Lafayette team,” adds O’Brien. “We all put forward amazing efforts this weekend. Of course, the camaraderie from the weekend makes me even prouder to be a member of the team. It’s a tremendous feeling of confidence to have the support of such great teammates as you compete. I was very glad I was able to live up to my own expectations and, more importantly, contribute to a great team result.”

Government and law major Joe Borland ’06 (Wilkes Barre, Pa.) took second in both extemporaneous speech and impromptu speech. Trustee Scholar Joe Dudek ’09 (Honeoye Falls, N.Y.) placed second in Lincoln-Douglas debate and competed in impromptu speech.

Marquis Scholar and double major in history and government & law Christian Dato ’07 (Poway, Calif.) placed third in Lincoln-Douglas debate and competed in poetry reading and dramatic duo with Marquis Scholar Amy Solomito ’09 (Coopersburg, Pa.). Solomito also competed in prose reading. Marquis Scholar and computer science major Mark Kokoska ’08 (Bloomsburg, Pa.), winner of last year’s novice national speech championship, took fourth in extemporaneous speech, fifth in impromptu speech, sixth in dramatic duo with Marquis Scholar Rachel Heron ’09 (Downingtown, Pa.), and competed in informative speech. Heron also competed in both poetry and prose reading.

“This tournament was the best learning experience I have had so far in forensics,” says Solomito. “The competition was amazing, and there was so much that everyone on the team could take away in terms of improvements. I am so proud of the team for ranking first in debate and speaking combined, which shows the amount of dedication everyone has put into this.”

Accompanying the team were Scott Placke, director of forensics; John Boyer, debate coach; and Erik Heins ’05.

Other thoughts from Forensics Society competitors:

“This being my first tournament out, I was completely impressed by the quality of all the interpretive events I saw,” says Heron. “I like to think it gave me insight on ways to add to my own performance. Of course, it was an incredible thrill that Mark’s and my duo made the final round – what an adrenaline rush! It really is an amusing piece to perform, and hopefully the audience found it amusing to watch. Even beyond all the tournament experience, I’m so glad I got to bond with the team and watch everyone succeed with such aplomb.”

“Nassau’s debate impressed me more than anything else,” says Dato. “For a region that is not known for Lincoln-Douglas debate, I was happy to see that new teams are starting up and that they are as excited about competing as we are. I especially compliment their interest in the topics even after the debates were finished – something that I also observed and enjoyed of our novices.”

“The team just basically rocks,” says Dudek. “That’s about all there is to it.”

Forensics Society members are active participants in other campus activities as well.

Dato is president of Haven, secretary of Social Gaming Network (SGN) and History Club, and a member of College Democrats.

Dudek is a member of Tennis Club, Table Tennis Club, Concert Band, and Concert Choir.

Kokoska is president of Table Tennis Club and vice president of Haven and SGN.

O’Brien is president of Dry Surfers, a member of Newman Association, and a tour guide for the admissions office.

Heron is a member of Newman Association, Concert Choir, and College Democrats, and writes for The Lafayette.

Wehler is a member of Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, and College Democrats.

Solomito is a member of Crew Club.

Forensics Society’s next competition will be hosted by Suffolk University in Boston, Mass., this weekend.

Prior tournament reports

West Chester Tournament of Roses Oct. 8-9
Through the Looking Glass Novice (Bloomsburg University), Sept. 24 and
Purdue Boilermaker Special, Sept. 17-18

2004-05 national championship tournament

Categorized in: Academic News