Forensics takes home the trophy
The UW-Eau Claire forensics team won the Wisconsin State Forensics Tournament for the 12th consecutive year.
Seven teams from around the state vied for the title Feb. 21 at UW-Stout, but Eau Claire walked away with the trophy.
Many helped bring it home for the Blugolds. Senior Brandon Buchanan took top honors in communication analysis, junior Kelly Bender took first in oratory and sophomore Abby Czeskleba placed first in after-dinner speaking.
The team consists of eight freshmen, three sophomores, four juniors and one senior.
“We have a strong program,” said Karen Morris, director of forensics and senior lecturer of communication and journalism. She said the team is carrying on a long-standing tradition of excellence at Eau Claire.
“This is one of our better teams,” she said. “They are good.”
Despite being a talented team, they are a little inexperienced, Morris said.
But hopes that will not play a part in the upcoming tournaments.
The team’s season stretches almost the length of the school year. It starts in late September with open invitationals and ends in April with national tournaments.
The team is preparing for the last four big tournaments of the season: The District Four, National Forensics Association, American Forensics Association and Interstate Oratory Contest.
|“Evening of Champions”
Time: 7 p.m.
Date: Marah 29
Place: Hibbard 102
The NFA in Illinois, April 15-19 and AFA in California, April 2-5 are the big ones, Morris said.
In 2003, the team placed 13th at AFA, moving down two spots from 2002. It moved up two places to seventh at NFA.
“Our goal is to maintain,” Morris said, “but we might have a national champion, who knows?”
Czeskleba said she is also optimistic about the tournaments.
“We are hoping to do better than last year,” she said.
According to the team’s Web site, the forensics team is nationally renowned.
When people talk about forensics in Wisconsin, Eau Claire’s name always comes up, Morris said.
Eau Claire is one of the only teams that competes in both the NFA and AFA, according to the team’s Web site. Usually, schools choose to go to only one or the other. Because the team goes to more than 20 contests a year, its members form sort of a second family, Czeskleba said.
“The van rides can be up to six hours or more,” she said, “so we are all pretty close.”
It not just what the individual wants to do on the team, but rather looking at the big picture to see what the team needs most, Morris said.
During the month of March, there will be a few events around campus raising the awareness of the team.
The campus radio station WUEC (89.7) will air a showcase piece on the team at 5 p.m., March 28.
“We are just trying to shed a little limelight on the team and explain a little about forensics,” senior Rebecca Hebbring said.
Hebbring will host the show, which will intertwine some speeches and information about forensics.
There also will be an event called “Evening of Champions,” which will involve speeches that the performers will give at upcoming events.
It’s kind of a preparation for the upcoming national tournaments, Czeskleba said.
According to the team’s Web site, the NFA is a three-day “rollercoaster” and AFA is a five-day “marathon.” The preparation is needed, she said.
“We love these events,” she said, “and we just have to keep our focus and not let anyone throw us off and we will do just fine.”