Forensics team places third

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Championship performances by juniors Jennifer Cole and Michelle Baker led Bowling Green State University's forensics, speech and debate team to a third-place finish in the 57-team Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament, held March 7-10 at Central Michigan University.

Cole, an interpersonal communication (IPC) major from Detroit, Mich., won the Communication Analysis/Rhetorical Criticism event, while Baker, an IPC/environmental policy major from Loudonville, placed first in Discussion. BGSU students have now won those events the last three years and two years, respectively.

Baker added a runner-up showing in Program Oral Interpretation—tying with teammate Sarah Griffith, a senior from Wooster majoring in English/creative writing—and a fourth-place finish in Communication Analysis/Rhetorical Criticism. Cole, meanwhile, was second in Prose Interpretation.

Also placing in the top 10 percent for BGSU were Lewis B. Smith, a senior history major from Wauseon, who was second in Extemporaneous Speaking and fourth in Broadcast Journalism; Kenny Rogers, a junior from Peoria, Ill., majoring in sociology, third in Poetry Interpretation, and senior Sarah Smith, a medical technology major from Delta, fourth in Informative Speaking.

In addition to the 10 top-four performances, BGSU students were among the top 20 percent in eight events and the top 30 percent in 12 events, earning honors in 30 of 33 events entered overall. All of those efforts contributed to the team's third consecutive finish in the top 10 percent in the tournament, sponsored by Pi Kappa Delta, the national communication honor society.

The team's other three members each recorded showings in the top 30 percent, including special education major Amanda Hensley, a freshman from Armada, Mich., in Impromptu Speaking, Persuasive Speaking and Poetry Interpretation; Michael Hensler, a senior theatre major from Cleves, in Persuasive Speaking and Dramatic Interpretation, and sophomore Kayla Combs, a liberal arts major from Perrysville, in Informative Speaking.

“This was an amazing experience for the team. Placing third in the nation against such quality programs is an outstanding honor,” said Paul Wesley Alday, director of forensics and an instructor of interpersonal communication at BGSU.

The tournament was held in conjunction with the Pi Kappa Delta National Convention, where Baker was re-elected as student governor and Alday was elected as lieutenant governor of the Province of the Greater Northeast. Including the 13 original colonies plus Ohio and Michigan, the province encompasses the most states of any in the national organization. Alday was also recognized at the convention for 20 years of service to forensic education.

BGSU's forensics program earned 16 team awards and more than 340 individual honors this year, and from April 18-24, Cole, Baker and Rogers will represent the team and the University at the National Forensics Association Championships in Rome, Ga. They will compete in a combined 10 events in the tournament, which is the nation's largest forensics competition.

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(Posted March 20, 2007 )