Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story contained errors regarding the results of the event. The Herald regrets the error.
WKU Forensics won its first national title in this year’s competition National Association of Forensic Medicine Competition.
Competing at Illinois State University from April 14–18, the team competed nationally and had 83 entries, one of the largest teams to compete.
For “After Dinner Speaking”, Reese Johnson placed fifth. For “Dramatic Interpretation”, Paige Albright placed first. For “Duo Interpretation”, Rashon Leday and Reggie Jefferson placed first, Kelly Lingen and Reese Johnson placed third, Jonah Johnson and Paige Allbright placed fifth, and Jonah Johnson and Reese Jonson placed sixth.
For “Extemporaneous Speaking”, Tess Welch placed sixth. For “Informative Speaking”, Tani Washington placed first and Paige Allbright placed fourth. For “Impromptu Speaking”, Christian Butterfield placed fourth and Tess Welch placed fifth. In “Lincoln Douglas Debate”, Tess Welch placed second. For “Poetry Interpretation”, Reggie Johnson placed third and Rashon Leday placed fourth. For the “Oral Interpretation Program”, Kellin Robinson placed fifth. For ‘Prose Interpretation’, Reshon Leday placed fourth. For “Rhetorical Critique”, Tani Washington placed first, Christian Butterfield was a quarter-finalist and Caitlyn Woitena placed sixth.
Ganer Newman, director of WKU’s forensic team, was very proud of the organization and explained how hard the students had worked to get to this point in such a short time.
“It was kind of an incredible life experience for me to see how [the students] managed to turn things around in such a short time by being so diligent and focused with his coaches,” Newman said.
Newman also praised the coaching staff for their great contribution to the team’s success.
“It’s the thing about a team, you don’t have a successful team without people who know what they’re doing to help and organize success,” Newman said. “This coaching staff is some of the most gifted educators I have interacted with in my entire life.”
The WKU forensic team saw 17 of its 83 entries go through four highly competitive judging rounds to the national finals. There, WKU competed against the University of Texas at Austin and ultimately won.
After not participating in an in-person debate since 2020 due to COVID-19, the team had to find ways to transition from virtual to in-person speaking.
“You’re starting from scratch, all you did was speak in front of a camera on the computer, and now you’re supposed to speak, if you make it to the national final, in front of 300 people,” Newman explained.
According to WKU Forensics Website, their team is the “oldest and most successful program in the history of Western Kentucky University”.
Newman explained that forensics is more important than just winning titles — it’s about “being part of something bigger than yourself.”
After all this success, Newman said the future is “incredibly bright for the organization.”
News reporter Kennedy Gayheart can be reached at [email protected]