The WKU Forensics Team was crowned team sweepstakes champion at the largest tournament of the fall semester Nov. 4-5 in Peoria, Illinois.
The 70th Annual L.E. Norton Memorial Tournament, hosted by Bradley University, is one of the oldest collegiate forensics tournaments and has often served as a predictor of success at the national tournaments at the end of the school year.
Out of 23 possible individual championships available, WKU students won nine and took an additional six second-place finishes. Other competing schools included Northwestern University, George Mason University, University of Alabama, Illinois State University and the University of Texas at Austin. In all, 43 schools attended, representing 22 states.
Two members also took the top two places in pentathlon, a measure of personal success across five events: senior Lily Nellans placed first, and junior Andrea Ambam placed second.
WKU Director of Forensics Ganer Newman praised the quality of the competition at the event. “This is one of the largest tournament we attend before nationals so it always attracts top competition,” he said. “The number of competitors entered in each event made advancing to final rounds incredibly challenging statistically. While the competition was extremely close, our students all pulled together to win the team championship.
“It was particularly rewarding having two students, Lily Nellans and Andrea Ambam, recognized as the top two overall speakers at the tournament. These women are also currently preparing for major national scholarships, a testament to their remarkable discipline this semester.”
Newman praised the coaching staff. “I am incredibly grateful for all the hard work our coaches put in to make our team a success,” he said. “They work tirelessly to motivate our students to develop and deliver nationally competitive arguments. We have a lot of work on our road to nationals in April, but I know our coaches are leading these students in the right direction.”
The team will split in two next week to compete at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee, and McKendree University, in Lebanon, Illinois.
Results from the 70th Annual “L.E. Norton” Bradley Invitational are as follows:
- Lily Nellans, a senior from Des Moines, Iowa, tournament champion in pentathlon, tournament champion in extemporaneous speaking, tournament champion in impromptu speaking, tournament champion in informative speaking, third in persuasive speaking and sixth in communication analysis.
- Andrea Ambam, a junior from Peculiar, Missouri, tournament champion in after-dinner speaking, second in pentathlon, second in duo interpretation (with Lyric Davis), second in informative speaking and second in persuasive speaking.
- Emma Warnecke, a freshman from West Bloomfield, Michigan, tournament champion in novice persuasive speaking and tournament champion in novice poetry interpretation.
- Zakkiyah Sanders, a freshman from Apple Valley, Minnesota, tournament champion in novice prose interpretation.
- Rickey Williams, a freshman from Minneapolis, Minnesota, tournament champion in novice communication analysis.
- Lyric Davis, a senior from Blue Springs, Missouri, second in duo interpretation (with Andrea Ambam) and semifinalist in duo interpretation (with Sam Moore).
- Zach Bernat, a freshman from Canfield, Ohio, second in novice after-dinner speaking.
- Tayland Ratliff, a freshman from Youngsville, Louisiana, second in novice dramatic interpretation.
- Durwan Green, a senior from Lewisville, Texas, third in poetry interpretation, semifinalist in dramatic interpretation and semifinalist in duo interpretation (with Matt Wisenden).
- Bailey Rung, a senior from Blaine, Minnesota, third in impromptu speaking.
- Corey Newsome, a freshman from Morehead, third in novice prose interpretation.
- Ashlyn Jones, a freshman from Lafayette, Louisiana, fourth in novice impromptu speaking and sixth in novice extemporaneous speaking.
- Murphy Burke, a senior from Des Moines, Iowa, fourth in persuasive speaking.
- Michael Rizzo, a senior from Weston, Florida, fourth in informative speaking.
- Sean Diaz, a senior from El Paso, Texas, fifth in programmed oral interpretation and semifinalist in dramatic interpretation.
- Sam Moore, a senior from Blue Springs, Missouri, fifth in dramatic interpretation and semifinalist in duo interpretation (with Lyric Davis).
- Symone Whalin, a freshman from Sonora, fifth in novice after-dinner speaking.
- Matt Wisenden, a junior from Moorhead, Minnesota, semifinalist in dramatic interpretation and semifinalist in duo interpretation (with Durwan Green).
- Casey Child, a junior from Taylor Mill, semifinalist in dramatic interpretation and semifinalist in informative speaking.
- Kayla English, a junior from Indianapolis, Indiana, semifinalist in after-dinner speaking and semifinalist in informative speaking.
- Claire Champagne, a sophomore from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, semifinalist in after-dinner speaking.
- Emily Falica, a sophomore from Scottsville, semifinalist in impromptu speaking.
- Bradley Wascher, a sophomore from Montgomery, Alabama, semifinalist in impromptu speaking.
- Asha Wasuge, a senior from Irvine, California, semifinalist in after-dinner speaking.
More: Check out the WKU Forensics Facebook page or follow @wkuforensics on Twitter.
Contact: Ganer Newman, (270) 745-6340