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Led by two first-place finishes from Ng’ang’a Muchiri ’09 (Nairobi, Kenya), Forensics Society won its division at the 27th annual Novice National Tournament held at Berry College in Rome, Ga., March 11-12. Twenty-seven colleges and universities nationwide attended the tournament

At the national tournament, colleges are assigned divisions based on the total number of team entries for the event. Lafayette’s assignment to Division 2 reflected that it was among schools with the second-largest number of entries. Four novice competitors represented the team at the tournament, and all placed in at least one of their events.

Muchiri won the extemporaneous speech competition by answering the final round question “Can an arms race between India and Pakistan be prevented?” He also won the impromptu speech competition. The final-round quotation for all competitors was a German proverb, “An old error is more popular than a new truth.” He took fourth place in communication analysis and competed in impromptu sales and dramatic interpretation. Muchiri was ranked as the competition’s fifth-place speaker overall.

“This was a very well-run tournament, and it gave me excellent preparation for the National Forensic Association’s annual tournament in April,” he says. “I had a lot of fun bonding with the team. They are all great.”

Joe Dudek ’09 (Honeoye Falls, N.Y.) took second place in Lincoln-Douglas debate. He picked up a pair of fourth-place finishes in impromptu speech and impromptu sales.

“Novice Nationals served as a wonderful milestone for all involved and really showed just how far my teammates and I have come this year,” he says. “After almost a whole year of varsity competition, it was nice to be reminded how truly competitive we are among our peers.”

Trustee Scholar Beth Wehler ’09 (Gettysburg, Pa.) placed second in extemporaneous speech by answering the question “Will the U.S. House and Senate come to an agreement about immigration?” She placed fourth in debate and competed in after-dinner speaking. She also competed in dramatic duo with Rachel Heron ’09 (Downingtown, Pa.).

“I was very proud of my performance in extemporaneous [speech],” she says. “My goal was to make it to the final round, and I am very excited to make my goal. I am very proud of everyone on the team; we really made a strong showing.”

In addition to her event with Wehler, Heron took third in impromptu speech, fifth in prose reading and after-dinner speaking, and sixth in poetry reading. The Marquis Scholar also competed in dramatic interpretation.

“It [the tournament] gave us a great chance to compete against students from all over the nation and to measure ourselves against other people who started at the same time,” she says. “I am so proud of the novice cluster – especially Ng’ang’a’s win in the limited preparation events and Joe’s showing in the debate. We have come so far in a year, and I can’t wait to see what we’ll do in the future. As far as my own performances go, I was excited to try impromptu for the first time, and was incredibly proud to stand with my teammates in the final rounds.”

Scott Placke, director of forensics, and John Boyer, debate coach, accompanied the team.

Forensics Society will travel to University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, for the National Forensic Association’s annual tournament April 13-18.

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

Heron is a member of Newman Association, Landis Community Outreach Center’s Spanish Club for Kids, and College Democrats.

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

Wehler is a member of College Orchestra and College Democrats.

Muchiri writes for The Lafayette.

Prior tournament reports

Categorized in: Academic News