North Central forensics places third in state, sets record for national qualifiers

Mar 20, 2013

Eighteen North Central College students were among some 200 forensic competitors in speech and debate at the Illinois Intercollegiate Forensics Association State Tournament (IIFA), hosted by Northern Illinois University March 1-2.

North Central College brought home 12 awards. Among them were two Sweepstakes Awards: The College won Third Place Team award in the State of Illinois, and David DePino ’13, majoring in speech communication and history, claimed Third Place Overall Individual Student in Illinois award.

In Debate, two students won State Champion in two categories. Mark White ’13, majoring in speech communication and psychology, and Steve Mackey ’13, an applied mathematics major, were named the State Champion Debate Team. They also tied as State Champion Individual Debaters. In the Individual Debater category, global studies major Hannah Brock ’13 won fourth place, political science major Cody Follis ’13 fifth place and DePino took sixth place.  

In Individual Events, DePino claimed three awards: second place in Extemporaneous Speaking, second place in Impromptu Speaking and fourth place in Oratory. Ben Davis ’14, majoring in musical theatre and interactive media studies, took sixth place in Dramatic Oral Interpretation and Follis earned sixth place in Speech to Entertain.

Of special note, three of the four teams that reached the Semi-Final round of Parliamentary Debate competition were from North Central College. In addition to the team of White and Mackey, who went on to claim State Champion, the team of DePino and Follis and the team of Brock and T.J. Simmons ’13, majoring in entrepreneurship and small business management, made it to the Semi-Finals. Two North Central teams faced each other in one Semi-Final round—White and Mackey vs. Brock and Simmons—and the No. 2 seed team of White and Mackey advanced to win State Champion.

In addition to these award winners, several more students participated in the state championship tournament and contributed to the overall success of North Central’s forensics team. They are John Arrington ’16, Anne Green ’14, Emily Johnson ’16, Brendan Kitt ’14, Jillian Laumbacher ’13, Grace Morris ’16, Hailey Simmons ’16, Abbi Van Hook ’16, Alexander Vjestica ’16, Rachel West ’16 and Joshua Zellar ’16.

Other recent events included the March 9 district qualifier at Illinois State University for the 2013 American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET) in April. Eight students have qualified in 29 events over the course of the season—the largest number of qualifying events for this national tournament in the history of North Central’s forensics program. Those eight students are Arrington, Davis, DePino, Follis, T.J. Simmons, Hailey Simmons, Van Hook and West.

On March 13-16, the team of Davis, DePino, Follis, T.J. Simmons and West competed at the Pi Kappa Delta Nationals tournament at Webster University in St. Louis. The event is especially focused on the educational aspect of forensics and hosts some 100 intercollegiate teams from across the country.

The North Central College faculty coach for Debate is Richard Paine, professor of speech communication/theatre, and the coach for Individual Events is John Stanley, assistant professor of speech communication and assistant director of forensics.  

In addition to the AFA-NIET contest in Kansas, North Central’s team will compete at the National Forensic Association (NFA) National Tournament at Marshall University in West Virginia in April.

Students from all majors can participate in North Central College’s nationally ranked forensics team. Students become more articulate speakers, effective performers and critical thinkers as they participate in more than a dozen tournaments each year. They also receive course credit and can apply for forensics scholarships when they participate on the team.  

Photo, students attending the IIFA State Tournament. First row, from left: Jillian Laumbacher, Grace Morris, Alexander Vjestica, Rachel West, Anne Green, Ben Davis, Abbi Van Hook, Hanna Brock, Steve Mackey. Second row, from left: David DePino, Hailey Simmons, Brendan Kitt, Joshua Zellar, T.J. Simmons, Mark White, Cody Follis. Not pictured: John Arrington Jr., Emily Johnson.