On Saturday, February 20, Marian University hosted the annual Indiana Forensic Association’s Championships in Speech and Debate for the very first time. The state tournament for speech was held in the Michael A. Evans Center for Health Sciences, and students competed in events such as Informative Speaking, Impromptu Speaking, and Prose Interpretation.
Dr. George LaMaster, chair of the department of communication and tournament director, said he compares speech tournaments to track meets. Each student competes individually, scoring points for the team as a whole. To prepare for the competition, a mock tournament was held a week prior. Speech team alumni returned for the day’s events to help current team members practice and get ready for the important tournament.
Marian University placed second overall at the state speech tournament. Third place went to the University of Indianapolis. Unique to this year was the university’s participation in the state tournament for debate. First time debaters, senior Lindsay Nichols and sophomore Alyx Shields, took home first place in Novice Public Forum Debate. “Debate is very nerve racking. Finding out we were in the finals was surprising, but extremely exciting. Lindsay and I both said we would give it our best and just have fun,” Shields said.
2016 also marks the university’s tenth year of having a speech team. Starting out, Dr. LaMaster explained the team had a budget of zero dollars and his minivan, taking only about five people to the state tournament. This year, around 25 team members, alumni, and coaches, represented Marian University at the tournament.
“It was wonderful to share that new part of our campus. It’s a marvelous facility for something like this,” Dr. LaMaster said. “It was wonderful to have so many faculty and staff volunteer their time to judge. It was a neat way to share what we do.”