WKU Forensics Team wins NFA national championship
- WKU Forensics
- Wednesday, April 19th, 2023
The Western Kentucky University Forensics Team won the National Forensics Association National Tournament sweepstakes championship hosted by Bradley University April 13-17.
WKU sent 31 competitors with a total of 101 individual event (IE) entries and nine debate entries to the tournament. Of the 101 IE entries, WKU advanced 69 to the octofinal round, 46 entries advanced to the quarterfinal round, 29 entries advanced to the semifinal round, and 13 IE events advanced to the final round of the tournament.
Students in four events were awarded a national championship: Jonah Johnson and Rashon Leday in Duo Interpretation, Tani Washington in Informative Speaking and Rhetorical Criticism, and Cecilia Alali in Poetry Interpretation.
WKU entered nine debaters in the tournament. Six of the entries advanced to the elimination rounds. Four advanced to the top 16. Senior Tanya Prabhakar and freshman Rae Fournier advanced to the round of 8. WKU earned four of the top 10 speaker awards with senior Andre Swai placing second, senior Tanya Prabhakar placing eighth, junior Hannah Jones placing ninth, and senior Miles Morton placing 10th.
WKU placed third in LD Sweepstakes behind the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Washburn University. Missouri State University placed fourth and the University of North Texas placed fifth.
Director of Debate Chad Meadows said: “It was an honor to represent WKU with multiple students in the top 8 of LD, a feat we have achieved twice in the last four years. Receiving 40% of the speaker awards was yet another testament to the team’s talent across the board. This effort represented the culmination of nearly a year’s worth of research on American democratic institutions. The excellence of these outcomes is indicative of the ability of our students to lead discussions about the country’s future.”
Three WKU speakers were awarded with Pentathlon awards in recognition of the total points individuals earn across multiple events. Senior Caitlyn Woitena placed 15th, junior Tani Washington placed ninth, and sophomore Cecilia Alali placed seventh.
Director of Forensics Ganer Newman said: “We are grateful to Bradley University for hosting the competition this year. It is an honor to compete at an institution where the administration truly values the activity and supports our travel throughout the season. Our students set lofty goals this season and worked hard to achieve them, fitting in countless hours of practice between classwork assignments and work in other campus organizations. The students also hosted multiple public showcases to demonstrate their talent for the broader campus community and train for the experience of speaking in front of larger audiences. Our national championship was a community supported effort!”
WKU was crowned the open sweepstakes champion for individual events out of 55 participating institutions. Eastern Michigan University placed second, The University of Texas at Austin placed third, George Mason University placed fourth, and the University of Illinois Chicago placed fifth.
Newman looks forward to honoring the team and their coaches at the end of season banquet on Tuesday. “Our coaches, in my opinion, are the greatest speech and debate minds in the country. Our newest full-time coach, Sean Diaz, and our graduate assistant coaches, Evan Grisham and Ben Williams, brought tremendous enthusiasm and new ideas to the team this season. Director of Debate Chadwick Meadows, Director of Individual Events Ben Robin, Limited Preparation Coach Seth Peckham, Office Coordinator Debra Gensheimer, and I have all been with the organization for at least a decade. In our time with the program, we have never gone a single year without winning at least one team national championship title. This year, we brought two team national championships back to The Hill, cementing Western Kentucky University’s legacy as the most successful comprehensive collegiate speech and debate program in history.”
Members of the Championship team were: Cecilia Alali of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; JaKayla Brown of Kansas City, Kansas; Jaleon Brown of Raytown, Missouri; Imam Brula of Bowling Green, Kentucky; Christian Butterfield of Bowling Green, Kentucky; Caroline Chubb of Lewis Center, Ohio; Antonina Clementi of Lafayette, Louisiana; Joey Eberle of Maple Grove, Minnesota; Kirsten Eversmann of Harrisburg, Illinois; Rae Fournier of Woodbridge, Virginia; Noah Gordon of Pittsburg, California; Kole Ingram of Hindman, Kentucky; Reginald Jefferson of Houston, Texas; Jonah Johnson of Burnsville, Minnesota; Hannah Jones of Bowling Green, Kentucky; Rashon Leday of Lafayette, Louisiana; Denise Marin of Houston, Texas; Julie Mishchuk of Nicholasville, Kentucky; Miles Morton of Sherman Oaks, California; Somtoo Nkurumeh of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Mauricio Patino of Stockton, California; Dakota Perry of Morehead, Kentucky; Micah Poole of Lafayette, Louisiana; Tanya Prabhakar of Danville, California; Shainna Ralston of Eldorado, Illinois; Samantha Sallee of Danville, Kentucky; Andre Swai of Springfield, Missouri; Collin Tuerk of Morehead, Kentucky; Tani Washington of Henrico, Virginia; Danielle Williams of Goodlettsville, Tennessee; and Caitlyn Woitena of Houston, Texas.
After Dinner Speaking
- Finalists: Christian Butterfield, 4th.
- Semifinalists: Joey Eberle, Caitlyn Woitena.
- Octofinalists: Kirsten Eversmann, Danielle Williams
- Semifinalists: Mauricio Patino, Caitlyn Woitena
- Quarterfinalists: Reginald Jefferson, Samantha Sallee
- Octofinalists: Micah Poole, Somtoo Nkurumeh, Denise Marin
- Finalists: Rashon Leday and Jonah Johnson, National Champions.
- Semifinalists: Jonah Johnson and Cecilia Alali
- Quarterfinalists: Somtoo Nkurumeh and Noah Gordon, Danielle Williams and Jaleon Brown
- Octofinalists: Samantha Sallee and Reginald Jefferson, Caitlyn Woitena and Samantha Sallee
- Semifinalists: Christian Butterfield
- Quarterfinalists: Miles Morton, Antonina Clementi
- Octofinalists: Rae Fournier, Tani Washington, Kole Ingram
- Finalists: Christian Butterfield, 2nd.
- Semifinalist: Joseph Eberle
- Quarterfinalist: Andre Swai
- Octofinalists: Antonina Clementi; Cecilia Alali
- Finalists: Tani Washington, National Champion; Cecilia Alali, 6th.
- Quarterfinalists: Mauricio Patino, Samantha Sallee, Joseph Eberle
- Octofinalists: Jonah Johnson, Danielle Williams
Lincoln Douglas Debate
- Speaker Awards: Andre Swai, 2nd; Tanya Prabhakar, 8th; Hannah Jones, 9th; Miles Morton, 10th.
- Top 8: Tanya Prabhakar; Rae Fournier
- Top 16: Andre Swai; Miles Morton
- Top 32: Antonina Clementi; Hannah Jones
- Finalists: Jaleon Brown, 3rd.
- Semifinalists: Rashon Leday, Caitlyn Woitena
- Finalists: Cecilia Alali, National Champion; Regional Jefferson, 4th; Noah Gordon, 6th.
- Semifinalists: Micah Poole
- Quarterfinalists: Shainna Ralston, Danielle Williams, Mauricio Patino
- Octofinalists: Jaleon Brown
Program Oral Interpretation
- Finalists: Rashon Leday, 3rd.
- Semifinalists: Reginald Jefferson, Christian Butterfield
- Quarterfinalists: Danielle Williams
- Octofinalists: Jonah Johnson, JaKayla Brown
- Finalists: Caitlyn Woitena, 2nd.
- Semifinalists: Cecilia Alali, Mauricio Panino, Tani Washington
- Quarterfinalists: Jonah Johnson, Shainna Ralston
- Octofinalists: Somtoo Nkurumeh, Denise Marin
- Finalists: Tani Washington, National Champion; Rashon Leday, 5th.
- Semifinalists: Samantha Sallee
- Quarterfinalists: Jaleon Brown, Caitlyn Woitena
- Octofinalists: Dakota Perry, Collin Tuerk
More: Check out the WKU Forensics Facebook page or follow @wkuforensics and @DebateWku on Twitter.
Photo caption: Members of the WKU Forensics Team are (back row, left to right) Mauricio Patino, Imam Brula, Collin Tuerk, Jonah Johnson, Jaleon Brown, Denise Marin, Caroline Chubb, Somtoo Nkurumeh, Cecilia Alali; (middle row, left to right) Micah Poole, Dakota Perry. Julia Mishchuk, Kole Ingram, Reginald Jefferson, Jakayla Brown. Danielle Williams, Kirsten Eversmann, Rashon Leday. Noah Gordon; (front row, left to right) Tani Washington, Joseph Eberle, Rae Fournier, Antonina Clementi, Tanya Prabhakar, Andre Swai, Shainna Ralston, Caitlyn Woitena, Hannah Jones. Christian Butterfield, Samantha Sallee, Miles Morton.
Contact: Ganer Newman, (270) 745-6340
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Western Kentucky University prides itself on positioning its students, faculty and staff for long term success. As a student-centered, applied research university, WKU helps students expand on classroom learning by integrating education with real-world applications in the communities we serve. Our hilltop campus is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, which was recently named by Reader’s Digest as one of the nicest towns in America, just an hour’s drive from Nashville, Tennessee.
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