For the fifth time in the last six years, the Gustavus Adolphus College forensics team has won the Minnesota Collegiate Forensics Association (MCFA) state championship. Gustavus won the team sweepstakes at the tournament, which was hosted by the College of St. Benedict on Feb. 16-17, with 456 points. Concordia-Moorhead placed second with 313 points, while Minnesota State University, Mankato took third with 284 points.
“I think that the team performed as a unified force this weekend and it had a lot to do with how we prepared,” junior Kelsey Abele said. “We spent all of last week watching each other speak and giving feedback. This kind of approach to a big tournament such as this makes us a much more cohesive team so that we can share in each other’s successes. I feel more invested in my teammates, because I know I’ve had a part in helping them craft that speech.”
In addition to the team taking first place at the tournament, Abele won the Larry Schnoor Individual Sweepstakes championship as the top individual performer. Gustavus had three other competitors place in the top five of the individual sweepstakes as junior Shelby Wilds placed second, sophomore Karin Nordin took third, and sophomore Courtney Train placed fifth.
Abele won the Program Oral Interpretation event, placed second in Dramatic Interpretation, finished fourth in Communication Analysis, and teamed with senior Kaitlin Burlingame to take fifth place in Duo Interpretation.
Wilds was a three-time champion at the tournament as she placed first in Impromptu Speaking, Informative Speaking, and Communication Analysis. Wilds also finished in fifth place in Extemporaneous Speaking.
Train also won an individual championship as she placed first in After Dinner Speaking. Train placed third in Program Oral Interpretation, seventh in Poetry Interpretation, and also added a second place finish in Duo Interpretation along with Nordin. Nordin took second place in Minnesota Informative Speaking, fourth in Poetry Interpretation, fifth in Program Oral Interpretation, and sixth in Impromptu Speaking.
Junior Mariecus Jarvis took first place in Poetry Interpretation, while senior Vanessa Condon placed third in Minnesota Informative Speaking. Senior Chris Moua took third place in both Oratory and Poetry Interpretation, finished fourth in Extemporaneous Speaking, and added a sixth place finish in Communication Analysis.
Sophomore Kate Spaulding placed second in Oratory and added a fourth place finish in Impromptu Speaking. Sophomore Brady Mueller finished third in Prose Interpretation and sixth in Dramatic Interpretation.
Burlingame and senior Hannah Engel finished third and fourth respectively in After Dinner Speaking, while first-year student Kari Roll took fourth place in Minnesota Informative Speaking. Junior Sonja Johnson and first-year student Rebecca Snapp made it to the finals of the Parliamentary Debate competition.
“I am extraordinarily proud of each member of this team,” Abele said. “It’s a really good reminder that this team is filled to the brim with some of the most talented, passionate people in the state.”
The team’s success at the state tournament comes on the heels of several impressive performances at tournaments in January and February. On Jan. 12-13, the team took fifth place out of 40 teams at the prestigious Hell Froze Over Swing which is co-hosted by Bradley University and the University of Texas at Austin. The team then won tournaments at the University of Northern Iowa and Wartburg College on Jan. 19-20, and at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on Jan. 26-27.
The next big event for the team is the District IV Qualifying Tournament for the American Forensic Association’s National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET). The qualifying tournament will be held March 8-9 at Minnesota State University, Mankato. This year’s AFA-NIET will take place April 5-8 at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kansas.
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