Forensics takes second in first tournament

Story by Tommy Kishaba

The buildings of the UW-Eau Claire campus were filled with numerous students dressed in their Sunday best this past Saturday, some easily recognizable as local students accompanied by many new faces.

Suits and ties and skirts paced up and down the hallways muttering to themselves, some gesturing wildly. An odd image to be sure but there is nothing odd about the Blugold forensics team; just the opposite in fact, and they certainly proved that with a stellar performance in their first competition of the season.

For the day the Blugolds placed second overall, a very good sign for tournaments to come. Team Vice President Holly Albers, coming off of a strong performance this weekend, had only positivity regarding the competition.

“The entire team had worked so hard in the weeks leading up to the first tournament and we were all so excited to get the season started,” Albers said. “We went in there and did exactly what we wanted to do; our hard work definitely paid off.”

Junior Megan McKeown, coupled with sophomore Jarrel Montgomery, placed first in their Duo Interpretation competition, while senior James Kust also placed first in the Extemporaneous Speaking category.

In the Informative Speaking category, Eau Claire seniors Patrick Martin and Albers placed first and second, respectively.

Professor Karen Morris, coach of the team, said she is very optimistic about this year’s prospects.

“We graduated a good class last year,” she said about the class that helped them nab ninth place at the AFA National Championships last year, “but I’m very excited about the freshman class.”

There is a large pool of talent, with students from many different areas who came with varied forensics experience from high school. Freshman Miri Francis, who will compete in the coming weeks, said she knows that she has a big task in front of her.

“We have an awesome program, and we work really hard to keep that standard,” she said.

As for the rest of the season, the team has nothing but high goals and the determination and talent to achieve them, said Megan McKeown, whose first place finish with Jarrel Montgomery has only encouraged her to do better.

“We’ve set our sights really high trying to maintain the consistency we had last year,” McKeown said. “Our goal is top 10 [at AFA nationals]. This year is gonna be a lot more intense.”