WKU Forensics team prepares to compete with WKU’s strategic plan in mind

The forensics team plans to compete keeping President Timothy Caboni’s strategic plan in mind. Photo courtesy of Carrie Jeanette at Sur La Lune Photography

Natasha Breu

The WKU Forensics team prepared for the upcoming 2018-2019 season this past summer with President Timothy Caboni’s strategic plan in mind.

Ganer Newman, director of forensics, said the team was focused on diversity and inclusion, which Caboni notes in the strategic plan. He said he wants to prepare the students on the team for a global stage, which includes improving conversation about social issues.

This year the forensics team is hosting a LGBTQ+ showcase along with a domestic violence awareness showcase. Newman said topics like this are what collegiate forensics is all about.


“We want to be a source for the campus community … providing some important conversations about those things,” Newman said. “We are focused on delivering competitive, powerful, meaningful messages that make changes in the community.”

Newman said the team spent countless hours over the summer reading and researching different topics and developing arguments to compete with. He said each team member’s performances go through an extensive vetting process to ensure they are competition worthy.

Matt Wisenden, a senior from Moorhead, Minnesota, said since he joined the team his freshman year, he’s become a more well-rounded person.

“My work in forensics has improved my rhetorical analysis, listening skills, and given me a supportive network of friends and mentors across the United States,” Wisenden said.

Nationals will be held in April, and Wisenden said the team aims to compete. He said some members started preparing immediately after the last season ended.

Last season the team placed second at the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament and won the team national championship at the National Forensic Association Tournament in Individual Events and Debate as team sweepstakes champion.

Madelynn Einhorn, a freshman from Dayton, Ohio, said in high school she only competed in debate, but now she also does speech. She said she hopes to improve her skills in forensics and that being on the team feels like she’s part of a community.

“My team and coaches are very dedicated to helping everyone,” Einhorn said.

Newman said the audition process is competitive, and students from all around the country send in audition videos for a chance to join WKU’s team.

He said students looking to join forensics need to make their voice heard not only in forensics but in community events and even the classroom, because talking about difficult subjects not only applies to speech and debate but everyday situations as well.

The WKU Forensics team hosted and competed in the first tournament of the season this Friday through Sunday with rounds spread across campus in the Garrett Conference Center, FAC, Grise Hall, Cherry Hall and College High Hall.

Among several other awards the team won, senior Andrea Ambam won tournament champion in quadrathon, poetry interpretation, second in after-dinner speaking, programmed oral interpretation and prose interpretation at the tournament.

Junior Alex Rivera of Newton, Kansas, became tournament champion in Lincoln-Douglas debate. Wisenden became tournament champion in informative speaking at the alumni tournament. Wisenden said this year’s fall tournament was the most competitive it’s been in years.

News reporter Natasha Breu can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow Natasha on Twitter @nnbreu.