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Forensics team has strong showing at UNI event

Barry McNamara
From left, Anthony Adams, Brittanie Parker, Will Best and Sarah Hunt.
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MONMOUTH, Ill. – The Monmouth College forensics season is off to a strong start, and the team recently returned from its top effort of the season at a Mid-America Forensics League event hosted by the University of Northern Iowa.

Anthony Adams ’18 of Chicago captured two first-place finishes, winning the competitions for impromptu and extemporaneous speaking. Classmate Brittanie Parker of Washington, Ill., reached the finals in program oral interpretation and Sarah Hunt ’19 of Pekin, Ill., was a finalist in persuasive speech. Parker has now reached the final round in three consecutive competitions.

When all the points were totaled, Monmouth placed fourth in the team sweepstakes competition, despite having one of the smaller teams. It was Monmouth’s second-ever sweepstakes honor, according to the team’s director, communication studies instructor Rebecca Buel.

“We’ve been having a good season,” said Buel, who took five of her 10 team members to the Iowa event. Also competing there were Sophie Slocum ’18 of Marengo, Ill., and Will Best ’20 of Monmouth.

Of Adams, who has now qualified for next spring’s American Forensic Association national tournament, Buel said, “His genre is limited prep, which makes it even more impressive. He’s one of the best on the circuit.”

Adams will not have far to travel when that tournament arrives, as it will be held next spring on the Monmouth College campus.

In the meantime, he and his teammates will conclude the fall portion of their schedule at an event hosted by Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., that has come to be known as “fall nationals.”

“There will be 43 schools there, and in most events, there will be over 100 entries,” said Buel. “It will be a great learning experience for us.”

To prepare for such events, Buel said the team members meet as a group with her once a week, and they also do peer coaching with each other once a week. In addition, speakers meet individually with Buel once a week for 30 minutes, and longer if they are working on a speech for competition.

The director of last spring’s national tournament, Buel is a longtime proponent of forensics as a valuable tool for college students.

“It really prepares you to advocate for yourself and construct messages across multiple mediums, which is what employees are looking for,” she said.

Also on this year’s team are Michael Horath ’18 of Chatham, Ill. (who is currently studying abroad), Vicky Ly ’19 of Lake in the Hills, Ill., Maggie Bruckner ’20 of Aurora, Ill., and freshmen Jamiya Johnson of Bartonville, Ill., and Elisabeth Riedesel of Davenport, Iowa.

“They’re working to get events up, so we’ll have more team members attending events in the spring,” said Buel.