Forensics team adds another victory to belt

Anna Lawson

The WKU Forensics team is adding yet another victory to its list. Over the weekend of Nov. 1, the team took home the title of Team Sweepstakes Champion at the 67th Annual L.E. Norton Memorial Tournament. 

Forensics involves speech and debate. Ganer Newman, the forensics director, has enjoyed leading the team to victory during his first year as director. He commended the work of students and coaches.

“The students and coaches worked tirelessly to prepare for this tournament,” he said. “It was great to see it all pay off in a victory for WKU.”

The win didn’t come without preparation, though. The team worked around the clock to perfect their speeches, leaving nothing to chance. 

“Each student practices roughly one hour, per event, per week,” Newman said.

Each of the 48 students compete in an average of four events. Roughly 200 hours of practice sessions take place each week. However, that number grows in the lead up to a large tournament like this one. 

Kristina Medero, a senior from Davie, Florida said the students spend a lot of time working on their speeches outside of practice. Medero placed second in the pentathlon at the competition, which is judged based on a measure of success across at least five events in a tournament. 

“We are required to meet with a coach for an hour a week, but most people practice more,” she said. “I usually put in ten hours every week before an event.”

The team’s season is year-round, so they start preparing their speeches in the summer and pick up more throughout the year. 

The L.E. Norton Memorial Tournament was hosted by Bradley University and it is the biggest tournament of the fall semester for the WKU team. 

There were many competitors, such as Northwestern University, the University of Alabama, Illinois State University and Ohio University. A total of 19 states were represented. 

WKU students won 12 of 20 individual championships. They also took 10 second-place finishes. 

For Medero, though, it isn’t all about winning.  

“I like having an opportunity to express myself in the best way possible,” she said. “Not just to get the message out there in a way other people understand, but it is also competitively pleasing.”

Newman enjoys the opportunity to help coach the team to find this happy medium. He has been involved in forensics in some capacity since 2000. He was a student on the team from 2007 until 2010. 

“I cherish the opportunity to work with the most creative and dedicated minds in the activity,” he said. “Our coaches are some of the most gifted educators I have ever known and our students are among the most driven.”

Newman is thankful to WKU for all the support the forensics team has received. 

“I love that forensics at WKU is an important part of our campus community,” he said. “Very few universities give this life-changing activity the recognition it deserves.”

Newman wants to continue to make WKU proud during his time as director of the forensics team. 

“I plan to continue attracting talented students from across the nation,” he said. “I hope to increase our presence in the community through public performances and volunteer services. I know that if we keep our disciplined focus, we will continue to bring home championships.”

The forensics team’s next competition is this Saturday at Belmont University.