Speech team wins 25th straight title


The WKU forensics team hit a milestone, as their most recent win led to a quarter-century streak.

WKU was awarded the overall team sweepstakes state champion at the Kentucky Forensic Association State  Tournament hosted by University of Kentucky on Transylvania University’s campus. 

Younger members of the team ranked highly, despite competing against others with years more experience.

Lilly Nellans, a freshman from Des Moines, became state champion in editorial impromptu, placed fourth in impromptu speaking, quarter-finaled in parliamentary debate with her partner Nerfertiti Dukes, and ranked as the 10th place debate speaker. 

She said competition weekends mixed hard work and a lot of fun— award ceremonies in particular. 

“It’s really exciting, especially when they announce your school first because that’s what you’re representing that weekend,” she said.

Director of Forensics Ganer Newman said he was thrilled with the results. 

“I’m incredibly proud of our students’ resolve to bring back the state championship to the Hill,” he said in a press release for the team. “We cannot thank our campus community enough for their support.”

The team efforts coupled with the individual successes of its members. The team won 11 individual championships. Darius Wilson, a senior from Blue Springs, Missouri, reached a personal milestone as he garnered three individual state championships.  

Nellans said Newman and senior members of the team encourage younger speakers to think of the bigger picture.

“[Newman] rallied around us being a team that competes for the team instead of competing for our individual success,” she said. “We have lots of really successful seniors on the team, and being able to be a role model on the team and in the community like that would be a great place to be.”

The forensics season continues with this weekend’s national tournament, the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament in Portland, Oregon. 

Next year, Newman and the rest of the WKU team will host the 2016 state tournament. Newman will become President of the Kentucky Forensic Association that year, and Nellans said she’s excited for the event. 

“It’ll be a lot of fun to have the whole Kentucky forensic community at WKU,” she said.