Forensics team wins Kentucky tournament for 23rd consecutive time

Christian Marnon

The WKU Forensics Team won the Kentucky Forensic Association State Tournament this year — for the 23rd consecutive time.

Jace Lux, Director of the Forensics Team, said the forensics they practice are often confused with the forensics of crime-drama television series like CSI, but the team actually participates in speech and debate.

“We do competitive collegiate speech and debate, dramatic interpretation of literature, extemporaneous delivery and some limited preparation and impromptu speaking,” he said.

The KFAST was hosted at Transylvania University this year, where WKU competed against eight schools across the Commonwealth.

The Forensics Team was triple-crowned overall team sweepstakes grand champion, large school debate sweepstakes state champion and large school individual events sweepstakes state champion.

Lux said that competitions are divided into individual events.

“Forensics tournaments are reminiscent of an NBA skills challenge where one player will compete in the dunk contest, and another in the 3-point contest,” he said. “In each of the individual events, students can win a championship, his or her points accumulate and then you add all those points together to gauge your school’s overall success in the competition.”

At KFAST, the Forensics Team earned 12 individual state championships.

Minneapolis junior Lindsey White, a member of the Forensics Team, said success never comes easy.

“We have 29 tournaments just this year, so it’s difficult to balance traveling to competitions three weekends in a row while staying on top of schoolwork,” she said. “It can also be very difficult for your esteem when 15 to 20 judges are tearing apart your performance style, but I wouldn’t be who I was without that criticism.”

White said she has been engaging in forensics since her freshman year in high school, and during that time, WKU was always a reality.

“Even in Minnesota, I knew about WKU forensics all four years of high school,” she said.

Floyds Knobs, Ind. freshman Paige Settles, also a member, said anyone involved in forensics knows about the program at WKU.

“People know Western is the best,” she said.

Two national tournaments are on the horizon for the forensics team as well. The first, which will be held in April, is the American Forensic Association National Tournament, and the second is National Forensic Association Tournament held two weeks later.

Lux said National Tournaments involve about 100 schools, and the Forensics Team has won eight national titles, more in the last decade than any school in the country.

Dawn Lowry, Director of Individual Events for the Forensics Team, said it is difficult to prepare for competitions, as judges grade subjectively, and are often inconsistent in their grading analysis.

“However, I’m always confident in my kids and team, and we do our best to make the administration and our community proud,” she said.

Lux said he feels good about nationals, but isn’t jumping to conclusions just yet.

“At this point, I don’t know what our students could do to better prepare themselves,” he said. “You can never guarantee a victory, but anyone who beats us is going to have to work very, very hard to do so.”