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Led by a first-place finish from Joe Dudek ’09 (Honeoye Falls, N.Y.), nine Forensics Society competitors attended tournaments at Ohio State University and Otterbein College Dec. 2-4. Over 35 colleges and universities sent teams to the tournaments.

Dudek, a Trustee Scholar, placed first in novice Lincoln-Douglas debate. He also competed in impromptu speech and novice prose reading.

“The Ohio State University [event] was a fantastic tournament,” he says. “I really enjoyed it and felt like I was consistently improving. There were some phenomenal pieces in the field.”

Kavinda Udugama ’09 (Kandy, Sri Lanka) took third in novice persuasive speech and competed in novice impromptu speech. Marquis Scholar Mark Kokoska ’08 (Bloomsburg, Pa.) took fourth place in extemporaneous speech; his final round question was ‘Does Arnold Schwarzenegger’s appointment of a new aide indicate a shift to the left?’ The computer science major also competed in impromptu speech and debate. Ng’ang’a Muchiri ’09 (Nairobi, Kenya) placed fourth in novice impromptu speech and competed in extemporaneous speech and impromptu speech.

Other competitors at Ohio State included Marquis Scholar Christian Dato ’07 (Poway, Calif.), who was an octa-finalist in debate and competed in impromptu speech and prose reading; Brad Hock ’09 (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.), extemporaneous speech, impromptu speech, and rhetorical criticism; history major Bill O’Brien ’07 (Elmont, N.Y.), after-dinner speaking, informative speech, persuasive speech, rhetorical criticism, and dramatic duo with Marquis Scholar Amy Solomito ’09 (Coopersburg, Pa.); Solomito, persuasive speech, prose reading, rhetorical criticism, and dramatic duo with O’Brien; and international affairs major Doug Weltman ’08 (Little Silver, N.J.), extemporaneous speech and debate.

“This tournament was incredibly helpful to me because it was out of our typical region of competition,” says Solomito. “I learned a lot about myself as a competitor this weekend, some good and some bad, but I will continue to strive for improvement. It was amazing to see how [the novices] have grown as competitors in the short time we have been competing.”

Weltman, Dato, Dudek, and Hock also competed in the tournament at nearby Otterbein College. Weltman was a quarterfinalist in debate, and Dato was an octa-finalist. Dudek also competed in debate, while Hock competed in extemporaneous speech, impromptu speech, and rhetorical criticism.

“I am sad that this was my last tournament with most of my teammates,” says Weltman. “Bill [O’Brien] said that it is always sad to lose a member of the team. To Bill, with whom I rarely find myself agreeing, I say that it is sadder still to lose a team. Otterbein was my last tournament as a Lafayette competitor. It was particularly nice to end the tournament on a high note by making it to quarterfinals.”

Other thoughts from Forensics Society competitors:

“This was my first time at Ohio State, and I was not disappointed,” says O’Brien. “The competition was great, and I feel I learned a lot from my ballots. I also was impressed with the way the novices handled themselves in their first Midwest tournament. Personally, it was exciting that, even though it didn’t break [advance to the next round], duo did so well. Amy and I put a tremendous amount of work into it, and I think the results showed.”

“OSU was my first Midwest tournament, and it was competitive,” says Hock. “As for the team, I think we threw things together nicely, as preparation was somewhat restrained with tight schedules. OSU and Otterbein will help me at nationals because I learned how to participate in individual events that lasted for three consecutive days.”

“A grueling three-day tournament awaited us in Ohio,” says Kokoska, a double major in history and government & law. “We met it with an equal amount of [determination] in our hearts.”

Scott Placke, director of forensics, accompanied the team to Ohio State, and John Boyer, debate coach, traveled with the team to Ohio State and Otterbein.

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

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

Hock is co-president of McKeen Hall Residence Council, a member of Investment Club and Philosophy Society, and writes for The Lafayette.

Kokoska is president of Table Tennis Club and vice president of Haven and Social Gaming Network (SGN).

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

Dato is president of Haven, secretary of SGN and History Club, and a member of College Democrats.

Udugama is a member of the student chapter of Engineers Without Borders and Tennis Club.

Solomito is a member of Crew Club.

Muchiri writes for The Lafayette.

Forensics Society’s next tournament will be hosted by University of Missouri at Columbia Jan. 13-15.

Prior tournament reports

Categorized in: Academic News