On Feb. 24-25 the WCU Forensics Team placed second at the PA Forensic Association Championship Tournament, which was held at Lock Haven University.
For the second year in a row, the WCU team finished second behind St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. WCU, however, came much closer to the win this year. They missed the first place title by only 40 points this year, whereas last year they trailed St. Joseph’s by 128 points. Lafayette College placed third behind WCU.
Although the forensics team did not take home the first place title, they are still very pleased with their performance at the competition. “We would like to have won, and came very close to doing so. What we have proven from this finish is that we are competitive against the top programs in the country,” said Director of Forensics at WCU Mark Hickman.
All of the members of the forensics team practiced to prepare for the Championship Tournament, and it paid off. “The students spent long hours researching, writing, cutting, editing, rehearsing and practicing their speeches, debate cases and literature performance,” Hickman said.
The West Chester Forensics Team took top honors in all four of the prepared speech events, which included After-Dinner Speaking, Informative Speaking, Persuasive Speaking and Rhetorical Criticism. They also took honors in a performance which combined prose, poetry, and dramatic literature.
Since the WCU team won first place in persuasive speaking they will be invited to send a representative to the Interstate Oratorical Contest. This contest began in the 1870s and is the oldest running national oratory contest in the nation. Every year only two top intercollegiate persuasive speakers from each state are invited to the competition.
Senior English literature major, Laura Mikowychok will be one of the two students from Pennsylvania invited to the contest. The Interstate Oratorical Contest this year will be held in Santa Fe, N.M. at the end of April.
In addition to placing second overall as a team, members of the WCU Forensics Team won five individual state titles. This means that for the second consecutive year, WCU won more individual championships than any other team.
Students who won individual honors are as follows: Susan Berberich, sophomore honors, English education major; Dan Blomquist, junior honors, political science major; Liz Dorn, freshman honors, biology and pre-med major; Heather Gilman, sophomore honors, political science education major; Brendon Johnson, junior honors, political science major; Laura Mikowychok, senior honors, English literature major; Lee Schimmel, sophomore honors, mathematics education major; and Eric Smith, senior honors, communication studies major.
The West Chester University Forensics Team’s regular season runs from Oct. to mid-Feb. In addition to this competition, the team also competes in other large tournaments at New York University, Seton Hall University, James Madison University and Suffolk University among others.