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The path to a championship: ASU students move forward in public speaking competitions

ASU forensics team

The ASU forensics team.

March 24, 2017

Arizona State University forensics students are set to represent ASU at three upcoming national competitions in public speaking.

Six students from the team have qualified their events to compete on the highest stage college has to offer. First up, senior Kohinoor Gill heads to Northwestern University March 24–27 to compete at the National Speech Championship. Gill will perform in 5 of the 11 available events, attempting to bring home a national title in each of: Extemporaneous, Impromptu, After Dinner Speaking, Communication Analysis, and Informative Speaking. Gill has already placed in the top 3 nationally in Extemporaneous speaking on 3 separate occasions during the regular season and is primed to bring home several wards during nationals season.

Six ASU Forensics students will head to Bradley University March 30–April 4 to compete at the American Forensics Association's National Individual Events Tournament (NIET). Qualifying a single event for the tournament is an arduous process, as students must place in the top three competitors with an event three times before earning the right to enter that event in the NIET. The team qualified for 18 events for this year's tournament, including six by Gill, five by sophomore Sachin Kumar, and four by junior Abbey Toye.

Junior Ben Steele, and first-years Erin Guiney and Alexander Haw round out the select group of competitors qualified to the NIET. Speech events are scored much like a gymnastic competition, where individual students participate in a series of preliminary competitions both to earn their school points and earn themselves a trip to the Finals in a specific event. Last year, the team rode several hot performances to a seventh place finish at the NIET. 

April 13–17, Gill, Toye and Kumar will travel to the National Forensics Association (NFA) Nationals, hosted this year by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. At the 2016 NFA Nationals, the ASU forensics team placed 10th overall, while also earning fourth place in President's Division I sweepstakes. While overall sweepstakes awards compare all schools in attendance in raw point totals regardless of the size of their entry, Divisions I-III awards measure schools against only schools that have similar entry counts. Last year's Division I, for instance, was contested by schools with 25–40 entries at the tournament. In 2014 and 2015 ASU Forensics was the Division II champion, besting all other schools in the 10–25 entries category. 

This year's forensics team is a relatively young team, comprised of a few upper classmen with the majority of the team being newcomers to college speech and debate. About half the events qualified this year belong to first or second year students.

Before the Speech Devils head off to the AFA and NFA National Tournaments, they will be performing many of their nationals-bound events. The team will host this year's Spring Showcase at 6 p.m. March 28 in Social Sciences Building (SS), room 105, on the tempe campus. Admission is free.

Written by Adam Symonds, director of the ASU forensics team

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