WKU Forensics Team places 2nd at AFA national tournament
- Author: WKU Forensics
- Author: Monday, April 8th, 2019
(Update: In mid-June the WKU Forensics Team was named the national champions of the 2019 American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament, after a two-month investigation found that two students of the original winning school had violated the league’s code of standards. Updated information is available at https://www.wku.edu/news/articles/index.php?view=article&articleid=7783)
The WKU Forensics Team placed second at the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament, hosted April 3-7 by the University of Alabama.
WKU sent 20 competitors with a total of 66 entries to the national tournament. Of the 66 total entries, 36 advanced to quarterfinal rounds, 26 advanced to the semifinal round, and 12 events made it to the final rounds of competition. Last year, the team fielded 31 quarterfinalists, 21 semifinalists and 15 finalists.
WKU placed second in team sweepstakes behind Bradley University. The University of Texas at Austin placed third. Other top 10 schools included Northwestern University, University of Alabama, George Mason University, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Illinois State University, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Hastings College and Wiley College. The AFA National Individual Events Tournament hosted 60 schools this year.
Four members of the team were recognized for personal excellence across several events at the tournament, called the individual sweepstakes award: Andrea Ambam was recognized as the national champion; Casey Child placed fifth; Derek Collins was sixth, and Rickey WIlliams was 16th. Ambam won the same championship last year, and with it comes the honor of returning for one year with the perpetual award in individual sweepstakes, which is a 3-foot, 4-inch wooden trophy listing every individual sweeps winner since 1978. WKU has four students listed.
“I could not possibly be more proud of our students and coaches,” said WKU Director of Forensics Ganer Newman. “When we trailed two other teams entering the quarterfinal rounds of competition, our students fought hard to close the gap, producing an astonishing conversion rates and final round placements.”
Newman described moments that made this AFA tournament special. “Our coach Jeremy Frazer was recognized by the organization as the Outstanding New Coach. Also, seeing the nation recognize one of our hardest working seniors, Casey Child, as the fifth-place speaker in the country was joyful. It was incredible witnessing senior Andrea Ambam finish the tournament in historic fashion, advancing all six of her events to the final round, becoming only the second person in our program’s history to ever accomplish this feat. Her efforts culminated in her winning the Individual Sweepstakes Championship for her second consecutive year, becoming the ninth person to do so in the history of the AFA tournament. She is one of the greatest team leaders I have ever known, and I cannot think of a better way for her to finish her final AFA.”
Newman was also optimistic about the team’s future. “More than half of our out-round participants were either freshman or sophomore team members. Notably, sophomore transfer student Derek Collins won both the Informative Speaking and the Communication Analysis National Championships.”
Acknowledging the team’s challenges this year, Newman explained, “In my five seasons as director of this great program, I have never seen a more unified or harder working group of students and coaches. They hosted a record number of public showcases and our coaches put in countless hours preparing each student. And our season is not over yet. We will make adjustments and we all look forward to defending our national championship title at the NFA National Tournament in Santa Ana, California, next week.”
The team is preparing for this final tournament, the National Forensic Association National Speech and Debate Tournament, April 18-22 at the Santa Ana Unified School District in California. While the AFA national tournament offers events such as dramatic interpretation of literature, and both prepared and limited preparation speaking, the NFA national tournament also allows teams to compete in debate. Newman said the team hopes to bring back the NFA team championships in debate and individual events.
Individual results from the 42nd Annual American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament are as follows:
- Andrea Ambam, a senior from Peculiar, Missouri, national champion in individual sweepstakes, second in persuasive speaking, second in after-dinner speaking, second in poetry interpretation, third in programmed oral interpretation, fourth in informative speaking and fifth in prose interpretation.
- Derek Collins, a sophomore from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, national champion in informative speaking, national champion in communication analysis, third in duo interpretation (with Emma Warnecke), sixth in individual sweepstakes and quarterfinalist in persuasive speaking.
- Casey Child, a senior from Taylor Mill, fifth in individual sweepstakes, semifinalist in dramatic interpretation, semifinalist in prose interpretation, semifinalist in informative speaking, semifinalist in duo interpretation (with Tayland Ratliff) and quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Reese Johnson).
- Emma Warnecke, a sophomore from West Bloomfield, Michigan, third in duo interpretation (with Derek Collins), semifinalist in poetry interpretation and semifinalist in programmed oral interpretation.
- Rickey Williams, a sophomore from Minneapolis, Minnesota, fifth in poetry interpretation, sixteenth in individual sweepstakes, semifinalist in duo interpretation (with Ryan Gosling) and quarterfinalist in communication analysis.
- Faith LoPiccolo, a junior from Lexington, fifth in after-dinner speaking and semifinalist in prose interpretation.
- Reese Johnson, a freshman from Burnsville, Minnesota, sixth in duo interpretation (with Matt Wisenden) and quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Casey Child).
- Matt Wisenden, a senior from Moorhead, Minnesota, sixth in duo interpretation (with Reese Johnson) and quarterfinalist in informative speaking.
- Lane Hedrick, a senior from Morehead, semifinalist in informative speaking and semifinalist in extemporaneous speaking.
- Ryan Gosling, a sophomore from West Palm Beach, Florida, semifinalist in duo interpretation (with Rickey Williams) and quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Corey Newsome).
- Tayland Ratliff, a sophomore from Youngsville, Louisiana, semifinalist in duo interpretation (with Casey Child).
- Brian Anderson, a senior from Hodgenville, semifinalist in impromptu speaking.
- Sal Tinajero Jr., a junior from Santa Ana, California, quarterfinalist in after-dinner speaking and quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Sabas Del Toro).
- Sabas Del Toro, a senior from El Paso, Texas, quarterfinalist in programmed oral interpretation and quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Sal Tinajero Jr.).
- Natalie Hedberg, a senior from Chaska, Minnesota, quarterfinalist in informative speaking.
- Kelly Lingen, a freshman from Lakeville, Minnesota, semifinalist in poetry interpretation.
- Corey Newsome, a sophomore from Morehead, quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Ryan Gosling).
- Zakkiyah Sanders, a sophomore from Apple Valley, Minnesota, quarterfinalist in after-dinner speaking.
- Bradley Wascher, a junior from Montgomery, Alabama, quarterfinalist in impromptu speaking.
Contact: Ganer Newman, (270) 745-6340