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Lafayette’s Forensics Society placed second in the Lincoln Douglas debate portion of the National Forensics Association’s National Tournament last month at Marshall University in Huntington, W. Va.

Sharon Chen ’15 argues a point during Lincoln Douglas debate

Sharon Chen ’15

Ryan Monahan ’15 (Cranford, N.J.), a government and law major, and Zoe Staum ’14 (Needham, Mass.), an Asian studies major, both advanced to the semi-final debate round, placing in the top four.

The College has excelled on the national level in recent years. In 2009, the team was the national champion in Division III speech, and in 2010, Lafayette took second place in both the debate and Division III speech portions of the national tournament. Cassidy Reller ’16 (Fremont, Neb.) took first place this year in extemporaneous speaking at the Novice National Intercollegiate Forensics Tournament, and Ryan Raesly ’15 (Nazareth, Pa.), a government and law major, won the novice championship in extemporaneous speaking last year.

Ryan Raesly ’15 gives an extemporaneous speech

Ryan Raesly ’15

Despite having a young team this school year, with many first-year and sophomore students, the team had great success. Both the speech and debate teams won first place at the St. Anselm’s Jack Lynch Tournament in November, and had several first-place trophies, including Staum in Lincoln Douglas debate. In February, three students won state titles at the Pennsylvania Forensic Association’s Championship Tournament: Sharon Chen ’15 (Tenafly, N.J.) in rhetorical criticism, Raesly in extemporaneous speaking, and Luke Wasacz ’16 in prose interpretation.

“I am very proud of our new members,” says Scott Placke, director of forensics. “They work very hard and have great spirit. I’m expecting a lot of fantastic things from them in the future.”

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