Forensics Team Places 8th at National Tournament

Posted on April 10th, 2013 by

Members of the Gustavus forensics team with their hardware from this year's AFA-NIET.

Members of the Gustavus forensics team with their hardware from this year’s AFA-NIET.

The Gustavus Adolphus College forensics team earned its best ever finish at the American Forensic Association’s National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET), when it placed eighth in the Team Sweepstakes on Monday, April 8.

The team earned 209 points during the four-day tournament (April 5-8), which took place at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. This is the fourth straight year that the team has finished in the top 10 at the AFA-NIET after a ninth place finish in 2012 and back-to-back 10th place finishes in 2010 and 2011. Bradley University took first place in the Team Sweepstakes, with Western Kentucky University, George Mason University, University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Alabama rounding out the top five.

“I am especially proud of this team because it truly was a team effort. Every student earned points contributing to our best placing in school history,” said Kristofer Kracht, Director of Forensics. “This speaks to their commitment to the process, commitment to excellence, and overall understanding of the link between education and competition. I am really proud to be associated with this group of students because of their perseverance and drive, lessons they will utilize beyond forensic competition.”

Junior Shelby Wilds made it to the finals in the Persuasive Speaking category and ended up placing fifth for the team’s best individual finish at the tournament. Wilds also advanced to the quarterfinals in Communication Analysis.

Junior Shelby Wilds became the first Gustavus student to advance to the finals in Persuasive Speaking at the AFA-NIET.

Junior Shelby Wilds became the first Gustavus student to advance to the finals in Persuasive Speaking at the AFA-NIET.

Junior Kelsey Abele was a semifinalist in Impromptu Speaking and advanced to the quarterfinals in both Drama Interpretation and Program Oral Interpretation. Sophomore Brady Mueller advanced to the semifinals in Drama Interpretation and the quarterfinals in Poetry Interpretation. Mueller also teamed up with senior Kaitlin Burlingame to reach the quarterfinals in the Dramatic Duo event. Burlingame was also a quarterfinalist in the After Dinner Speaking category.

Senior Chris Moua advanced to the quarterfinals in three different events including Communication Analysis, Informative Speaking, and Persuasive Speaking. Sophomore Courtney Train reached the semifinals in Poetry Interpretation and the quarterfinals in After Dinner Speaking. First-year student Logan Boese reached the quarterfinals in Impromptu Speaking.

Typically, more than 130 individuals compete in each event with only 24 advancing to the quarterfinal round, 12 to the semifinal round and six to the final round. Only five teams at the tournament had more individuals qualify for the quarterfinals than Gustavus did.

Other team members who competed at the AFA-NIET included seniors Hannah Engel and Vanessa Condon, juniors Sonja Johnson and Mariecus Jarvis, sophomores Brittany Knutson, Karin Nordin, and Kate Spaulding, and first-year students Emily Meyer, Becca Snapp, and Wilson Fields.

The full results from the 2013 AFA-NIET are available online at

The Gustavus forensics team will now move on to the National Forensic Association (NFA) National Tournament on April 18-22 at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. The team won the President’s Division II national championship at the tournament last year and also placed ninth in the Open Sweepstakes team standings.

For more information about the Gustavus forensics program, go online to


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



  1. Bruce and Diane Kracht says:

    Way to go Gusties. Your hard work really paid off. We are proud of you

  2. Miriam Anderson says:

    We really enjoyed being in Hutchinson with you all. So impressed with the Gustie Team. Congrats.
    Miriam Anderson ’81
    Ted Abele

  3. Tom Brown says:

    Congrats to Kris and the wonderful Forensics team!! Very proud of you!

  4. Heather Banks says: