Young team rises to challenge

Story by Michelle Enger, Copy Editor

“As soon as you say Eau Claire, everyone respects you,” said Megan McKeown, senior member of the forensics team.

She was talking about the reactions other competitors have at forensic meets. The UW-Eau Claire team has won the state championship for the past 20 years. The team usually attends both national tournaments in an academic year and often places in the top ten of at least one of  the tournaments.

McKeown said there are certain attitudes and expectations with coming from the Eau Claire forensic team.  With the success of the team in the past, it creates pressure for newcomers. This year, there are as many freshmen on the team as there are varsity members.

Freshman Ben Thompson Isaac is no exception to the pressures that come with being part of the Eau Claire forensic team.

“The very start of the program is a little daunting going into this, being very new in forensics as a whole and especially to the team as well,” he said. “But I think it is really great having that kind of support (from experienced members and a good program) and being able to be pushed to that cap you are expected to be at.”

Thompson Isaac is in his second year of competition in forensics, but this is his first year at the college level. He said one of the reasons he chose to attend Eau Claire was because of the forensics program.

He comes from a family of forensic competitors; his dad, mom and brother all competed.  Despite all the support from his family, he said he was still nervous before his first competition. However, he ended up placing third in novice prose and second in novice dramatic interpretation at the Dan Smith Invitational Tournament at Bradley University earlier this month.

McKeown said, despite the large number of freshmen, she still has high hopes for the season.

“I’m certainly not expecting that we will downslide in anyway, I think we will continue to be very excellent and proficient in this activity,” McKeown said.

Karen Morris, the director of forensics at Eau Claire,  said the team is still doing well with all the youth.

“We had quite large and strong upper level classes the last three years and have graduated many of those people and so we are looking to the underclassmen (with a few varsity leaders) to be the immediate future of the team,” Morris said.

The forensics team will next compete at the Mid American Forensics League No. 3 and No. 4 at UW-Eau Claire on Oct. 27 and Oct. 28.