Barry McNamara  |   Published September 20, 2016

Season opener

ScotSpeak traveling to Minnesota for year’s first forensics tournament
  • Pictured left to right are Brittanie Glumm, Sarah Hunt, Mackenzi Lafferty, Will Best, Cole Downey, Anthony Adams, Maggie Bruckner, Sophia Slocum and Michael Horath. Not pictured are Shoshona McClarence and Emily Sheetz.
ScotSpeak – the Monmouth College forensics team – will begin its 2016-17 season this weekend in Mankato, Minn.

“Some of our team members started working on this season as early as SOFIA (Summer Opportunity for Intellectual Activity),” said communication studies instructor Rebecca Buel, who directs the team. “They’ve performed for me, they’ve edited their work, they’ve received peer feedback. Now we’re ready to take this on the road and see what other people think and see what other schools are doing. But if we got some trophies, too, I’ll take that.”

Competing this weekend will be four students of the 11-member team – Anthony Adams ’17 of Chicago, Cole Downey ’17 of Geneva, Ill., Michael Horath ’17 of Chatham, Ill., and Sarah Hunt ’18 of Pekin, Ill. Three of the competitors will focus on one event; Adams will enter three: informative speaking, impromptu and extemporaneous.

“The top six competitors in each of the categories will advance to the finals,” Buel said. “That’s the ultimate goal. But the more educational goal this week is feedback.”

The rest of the team members will continue to polish their material and their delivery. Buel has an eye on two freshmen – Will Best of Monmouth and Maggie Bruckner of Aurora, Ill. – who have been on campus since SOFIA in early August.

Also on the team: Brittanie Glumm ’17 of Washington, Ill., Mackenzi Lafferty ’18 of Canton, Ill., Shoshona McClarence ’17 of New Lenox, Ill., Emily Sheetz ’17 of Mokena, Ill., and Sophia Slocum ’17 of Marengo, Ill.

“As a whole, we’re still the underdogs,” Buel said. “We have a few people who are starting to know the game. But this is a motivated, tight-knit group, with a deeper level of commitment than I’ve seen. Some years before the first tournament, you can kind of sense dread, but they’re all really excited and ready to go.”

ScotSpeak returns to action the following weekend at events hosted by Bradley University and Illinois State University. Buel said that a Nov. 5-6 tournament, also hosted by Bradley, will be the most “viewer-friendly” of the season, and it has the highest stakes. Attracting more than 40 colleges and universities, it has been referred to as “Fall Nationals.”

“That’s our last event of the fall season, and we’re working up to that,” she said.

The actual national tournament will be in April in Eau Claire, Wis., and Buel was recently named tournament director.
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