Forensics team hosts season-opener

WKU senior and forensics team member Paige Settles, left, presents Bryan Sonnier, a student at William Carey University, right, the Top Novice award for the forensics after-dinner speaking category during the Forensics Fiesta closing ceremony in Grise Hall Sunday. This weekend, students from 24 universities competed in the invitational competition, which took place in the Garrett Conference Center.

Hannah Shaffer

The WKU Forensics Team held its season-opening competition this weekend, playing host to 23 other universities.

Teams came from all over the country to participate in the three-day-long competition, which consisted of 13 events and five tournaments. 

Teams came to the competition hoping to win the team sweepstakes award; as  the host, WKU did not compete for it.

On Friday, preliminary rounds began to determine who would make it to the finals on Sunday. Members of the community judged the preliminary rounds.

The five tournaments included a parliamentary debate tournament, a Lincoln-Douglas debate tournament, a Lincoln-Douglas debate round robin and two individual tournaments. 

Friday began with parliamentary rounds one through four and then took a break for the round-robin debate’s final round. The day finished with the first elimination round for the parliamentary competition.

Englewood, Florida, junior Mark Allseits won the round-robin debate Friday night.

As Saturday began, so did a new set of tournaments. Registration for the day’s tournaments began at 7 a.m. 

By 8 a.m., round one of the Lincoln-Douglas debate tournament was beginning. The Lincoln-Douglas debate had six rounds throughout the day that led to the first elimination round Saturday evening.

The parliamentary debate also had two elimination rounds Saturday; these led to the parliamentary debate awards ceremony on Saturday evening.  

Also on Saturday, “pattern A” and “pattern B” competitors participated in multiple rounds of poetry interpretation, prose interpretation and persuasion. 

On Sunday, the finalists competed for overall wins in each category. The top six students would compete in after-dinner speaking, impromptu speaking, informative speaking, poetry interpretation and prose interpretation. 

The winners were announced Sunday evening.  

“The team is doing very well,” WKU Forensics Director Ganar Newman said.

Newman said the forensics team has won the world championship every year it attended and is looking forward to another win this year.

The WKU Forensics Team students won 12 individual championships throughout the weekend along with the round-robin competition on Friday. Tournament champions include Bailey Rung, Lataya Williams, Ashton Garber, Paige Settles, Jasmine Jones, Mark Allseits, Lauren Sledge, Mackenzie Birkey, Andrea Ambam and Haddy Badje.

Sheboygan, Wisconson, sophomore Mackenzie Birkey was WKU tournament champion in the after-dinner speaking competition.

“[After-dinner speaking] calls for the speaker to discuss a social issue by using humor,” said Birkey. “It was great making people laugh in the final round; it was even better impacting people with a message that was important to me.”

Bowling Green junior Lauren Sledge was the Alumni tournament champion in after-dinner speaking.

In the event, Sledge spoke about women’s strength and touched on how people refer to physical strength when they speak of a man being strong and emotional strength when they refer to a woman being strong.

Sledge said she did not get to watch the other finalists because of other competitions, so it was a surprise when she won. 

“It was a funny win,” said Sledge. “I didn’t really get to practice it, so I had to go with my gut.”