Forensics Team Defends Top 10 National Ranking

Posted on April 6th, 2011 by

The Gustavus forensics team celebrates its top 10 finish at this year's AFA-NIET in Kearney, Nebraska.

For the second straight year, the Gustavus Adolphus College forensics team has earned a top 10 national ranking at the American Forensic Association’s National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET).

The team earned 152.5 points to finish in 10th place at the tournament, which took place at the University of Nebraska-Kearney April 2-4. Western Kentucky University took first place in the team sweepstakes with 412 points. Gustavus is one of only a few smaller colleges that placed in the top 20 which is dominated by larger research universities.

“Our program placing in the top 10 for the second consecutive year is a testament to the students’ hard work and commitment to excellence since August,” head coach Kristofer Kracht said. “I said last year that placing 10th was a once in a decade accomplishment for a school of our size. To accomplish this ranking in consecutive years speaks to the caliber of students our program attracts, Gustavus’ commitment to forensics excellence, and the students’ willingness to duplicate the standard set by previous teams.”

In addition to the tremendous team accomplishment, several individuals also earned distinctive honors at the AFA-NIET. Gustavus junior Chloe Radcliffe will return to St. Peter with an individual national championship after taking first place in Prose Interpretation. Radcliffe beat out 165 other competitors in the category to become the first Gustavus student to earn a national championship at the AFA-NIET.

“Chloe winning a national championship in one of the most difficult categories reflects her talent, work ethic, and love of performance,” Kracht said. “She turned down offers from Ivy League schools because she wanted the opportunity to compete in forensics at the highest level. She has set the standard for our program, a legacy that will last forever.”

Senior Phil Helt advanced to the semifinals in Impromptu Speaking and the quarterfinals in Persuasion. Helt was also named to the 2011 AFA-NIET All-American Team, which selects students based on scholastic achievement, AFA-NIET forensic participation, and community service.

“Phil becoming our fourth AFA-NIET All-American epitomizes the type of students the activity attracts,” Kracht said. “It is akin to being an All-American in Division I athletics, except this award factors in competitive success, academic excellence, and community service. He is one of the finest students I have had the pleasure of coaching, and I could not think of a more deserving person for this honor.”

Junior Sam Hemmerich broke two events to out-rounds, advancing to the quarterfinals in both Drama and Prose Interpretation.

Other team members who competed at the AFA-NIET included seniors Eric Cronin and Claire Sagstuen; sophomores Kate Bissen, Kaitlin Burlingame, Vanessa Condon, Hannah Engel, and Christopher Moua; and first-year students Kelsey Abele, Kirsten Craft, Justin Feit, Ava Goepfert, Mariecus Jarvis, Sonja Johnson, and Shelby Wilds.

This year marks the fifth straight year that the Gustavus forensics team has earned a top 20 national ranking. The team finished 2007 and 2008 as the No. 20 ranked team in the country. In 2009 the team finished in season ranked No. 18 before jumping to No. 10 in 2010. Gustavus is one of only 11 schools, and the only non-Division I school, to be ranked in the top 20 in each of the past five years.

Team Sweepstakes Top 20:

  1. Western Kentucky University
  2. Bradley University
  3. George Mason Unviersity
  4. University of Texas, Austin
  5. University of Nebraska, Omaha
  6. Illinois State Unviersity
  7. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  8. University of Alabama
  9. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
  10. Gustavus Adolphus College
  11. Ohio University
  12. Arizona State University
  13. University of Northern Iowa
  14. Concordia College, Moorhead
  15. Northwestern University
  16. Doane College
  17. California State University, Long Beach
  18. Hastings College
  19. James Madison University
  20. Texas State University, San Marcos

Click here to view the full results from this year’s AFA-NIET.

Click here to learn more about the Gustavus forensics team.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


One Comment

  1. Bruce and Diane Kracht says:

    Way to go Gusties!!! All your hard work and dedication paid off!! An honor well deserved to the coaches and the students. We are proud of you!