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December 11, 2019

SVSU forensics team places first in home tournament, students qualify for national championship

The Saginaw Valley State University forensics team won first place at the fall Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League Tournament on Saturday, Dec. 7. This is the first time SVSU has hosted or won this tournament.

“We could not have been successful without the hard work of each and every student," said Ryan Rigda, co-adviser of the SVSU team and a lecturer of communications. 

"This was largely a team effort and demonstrates the start of a very promising future for the SVSU forensics team."

As a result of their performance at the SVSU-based tournament, six SVSU students qualified to compete in the National Forensics Association Championship Tournament, which will be hosted by University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in April. Those students and their Dec. 7 tournament performances are as follows:

  • Hannah Ducolon, an elementary education major from Bay City, placed first in the programmed oral interpretation category.
  • Lydia Greania, a psychology major from Essexville, placed second in the programmed oral interpretation category.
  • Mikayla Rigda, a communication major from Birch Run, placed first in the informative speaking category.
  • Justin Russell, a marketing major from Kimball, placed second in the duo interpretation category and fourth in the dramatic interpretation category.
  • Austin Teeple, a communication major from Bay Mills, placed first in the impromptu speaking category and fourth in the persuasive speaking category.
  • Sara Vasquez, a political science major from Alma, placed third in the extemporaneous speaking category.

Four additional students — who earned invitations to the national championship as a result of their performance at a September tournament — also earned top awards at the Dec. 7 contest. Those students and their Dec. 7 tournament performances are as follows:

  • Jessica Carpenter, a communication major from Saginaw, placed fourth in rhetorical criticism.
  • Imani Clark, a communication major from Saginaw, placed third in poetry interpretation and programmed oral interpretation.
  • Savannah Senyk, a communication and theatre education major from Smiths Creek, placed second in duo interpretation and dramatic interpretation as well as fourth in prose.
  • Simone Vaughn, a communication major from Saginaw, placed second in persuasive speaking.

In total, 11 SVSU students are qualified to participate in the April national championship. Monae Colvin, a criminal justice major from Detroit, qualified after a strong showing during the September tournament.

The next tournament the SVSU forensics team will compete in is at Northwood University in February.

Amy Pierce, an SVSU associate professor of communication, serves as co-adviser for the forensics group along with Rigda.