Saginaw Valley State University's forensics team competed well with strong team and individual performances at the Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League tournament Saturday, Dec. 3.
Four SVSU students saw their months of determined public speaking preparation pay off; they qualified for the National Forensics Association tournament at this event, hosted by Hillsdale College and featuring teams from across the state. As a team, SVSU finished third overall.
Erik Breidinger, a communications major from Auburn, placed first in the After Dinner Speaking competition and third in Impromptu. Abbey Leach, a communications major from Frankenmuth, placed second in the Informative Speaking competition. Gylian Castle, a communications major from Standish, placed third in Persuasive Speaking competition, and Haley Eilliott, a nursing major from Burt, placed third in the Informative Speaking competition.
The national tournament will be held April 13-17 at the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire.
This year’s SVSU team is made up primarily of novice team members, so for many of them, this was their first collegiate forensic tournament.
Three students earned Top Novice awards: Castle; Kelley Gray, a communication major from Sandusky; and Kaleb Yaeger, a communication major from Saginaw. Yaeger also placed third in Programmed Oral Interpretation.
SVSU has built its forensics program around an empowering team culture since being established in 2001. Amy Pierce, associate professor of communication, serves as the team's advisor.
At a forensics tournament, students engage in public speaking events such as Prose or Poetry Interpretation, where a student performs a selection of a published literary work. In the After Dinner Speaking category, a student gives a humorous and engaging speech for which they are judged based on credible sources, word choice and nonverbal delivery.
Including past performances, a total of nine SVSU students have qualified for the National Forensics Association tournament next year.