Forensics team wins weekend competition by 50 points

While many students were spending last weekend sleeping in, 13 members of the UW-Eau Claire forensics team were in Iowa sweeping first place in both parts of the Iowa Swing.

“I think this tournament was really good for us,” said sophomore Aaron Unseth, vice president of the forensics team. “We’re one of the most experienced teams out there.”

Unseth pointed to the team’s impressive point totals from the weekend, in which Eau Claire won by more than 50 points over second-placed University of Northern Iowa on each occasion.

“We’re not just winning,” he said. “But we’re winning by an impressive margin.”

The two-day weekend event took place on the Northern Iowa campus and was hosted by UNI and Cornell College (Iowa).

“This is the year that we have been waiting for,” said director of forensics Karen Piercy, who is in her fourth year with the team.

She said the freshman class from her first year has developed through the years, and now it’s paying off.

The team picked up 12 new qualifications for the national tournament of the National Forensics Association and six new qualifications for the American Forensics Association’s national tournament.

“We felt first place was pretty realistic,” said Brandon Buchanan, a freshman member of the team who was part of last weekend’s contingent that traveled to Iowa.

Buchanan’s second-place performance in rhetorical criticism at the UNI portion of the weekend qualified for the NFA nationals.

This weekend will bring yet another competition for Eau Claire, which Piercy said will send six to eight participants to a Mid-America Forensic League tournament at Bradley University (Ill.) and Illinois State University.

“This one’s supposed to be more competitive than the last one,” Buchanan said.

Piercy said Bradley and ISU are top-flight programs, and Eau Claire team members will see how they stack up against them.

“We’re totally on track,” Piercy said of the team this year.

Piercy said at this time of the year the team usually has more AFA qualifications, but by the end of the month, they should be caught up. And as far as NFA qualifications, Piercy said the team is well ahead of years past.

“We’re doing well,” she said.