BU Forensics Team Wins First Place in Ottawa

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The team posing with the many awards they won. (Front L-R: Dr. Strine, Natalia Warfel, Ashley Kline, Carson Rush, Nick Sorkine, Luis Donayre Back L-R: Erik Weibel, Jondi Harley, Jared Garrison, Eric Nock, Dylan Smith, Chris Mercedes)

The team posing with the many awards they won. (Front L-R: Dr. Strine, Natalia Warfel, Ashley Kline, Carson Rush, Nick Sorkine, Luis Donayre Back L-R: Erik Weibel, Jondi Harley, Jared Garrison, Eric Nock, Dylan Smith, Chris Mercedes)

Bloomsburg University’s Forensics Team, colloquially known as Speech and Debate, continued their first-place streak at yet another tournament. However, this one was not within the states. The team traveled to Ottawa, Canada from October 20-22 for a series of competitive speaking events.  

Five universities competed against each other in a variety of events. They included Bloomsburg University, Shepherd University, Florida College, Wilkes University, and Lafayette College. Bloomsburg collectively finished above all of them, winning their seventh consecutive First Place award.  

The Ottawa tournament consisted of 12 events: Prose Interpretation, Poetry Interpretation, Dramatic Duo, Single Dramatic Interpretation, Informative Speaking, Persuasive Speaking, After Dinner Speaking, Communication Analysis, Extemporaneous Speaking, Impromptu Speaking, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, and Parliamentary Debate. Most of these are self-explanatory, though all are much more difficult than they appear. 

For example, in Impromptu Speaking, the individual is given three random quotations. He will choose one, and then prepare and deliver a speech agreeing or disagreeing with the quotation all within a seven-minute timeframe. Quick thinking and speaking abilities are necessities. While this is only one event, all include students competing against each other to deliver a speech prepared before or during the event. This requires an immense amount of bravery and skill. 

The Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, Canada, where the tournament took place.

Bloomsburg University evidently possessed an excess amount of each of the two characteristics, as they placed in a plethora of events. 

Luis Donayre won 2nd in Extemporaneous Speaking, 3rd in Lincoln-Douglas Debate, 4th in Declamation, 4th in Pentathlon (an overall points award), 5th in Communication Analysis, 5th in Parliamentary Debate Speaking, and 6th in Persuasive Speaking. 

Jared Garrison won 3rd in Extemporaneous Speaking, 3rd in Informative Speaking, 4th in Poetry Interpretation, and 6th in Pentathlon. 

Jondi Harley, whom many team members claim is a “menace” in Parliamentary Debates, placed 1st in in Parliamentary Debate with Nicholas Sorkine, 2nd in Persuasive Speaking, 3rd in Impromptu Speaking, 4th in Parliamentary Debate Speaking, and 5th in Extemporaneous Speaking.  

Erik Weibel won 2nd in Parliamentary Debate Speaking, 3rd in Poetry, 5th in Impromptu Speaking, 5th in Persuasive Speaking, and 6th in Prose Interpretation. 

Dylan Smith won 3rd in After Dinner Speaking, 4th in Impromptu Speaking, 4th in Communication Analysis, and 6th in Parliamentary Debate Speaking. 

Carson Rush won 3rd in Single Dramatic Interpretation and 4th in Lincoln-Douglas Debate. 

Natalia Warfel won 2nd in Poetry, 2nd in Dramatic Duo with Eric Nock, and 6th in Declamation. 

Eric Nock won 2nd in Dramatic Duo with Natalia Warfel. 

Ashley Kline won 4th in Informative Speaking. 

Christopher Mercedes contributed to the overall points Bloomsburg University won, which helped the team win first place. 

Forensics Team President Nicholas Sorkine took home an astounding nine awards, which include 1st in Persuasive Speaking, 1st in Informative, 1st in Declamation, 1st in Lincoln-Douglas Debate, 1st in Parliamentary Debate with Jondi Harley, 1st in Pentathlon, 3rd in Parliamentary Debate Speaking, 3rd in Communication Analysis, and 4th in Extemporaneous Speaking. He’s the President for a reason. 

Dr. Neil Strine, Director of Forensics and most famous for teaching former Super Bowl-winning Saints quarterback Drew Brees, helped lead the team to victory with his expertise in debate. 

Retired NFL Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who was taught by the famous Dr. Strine. (Photo Credit: Asim Bharwani)

The team celebrated by touring the streets of Canada’s capital and having fun with team members and students from other schools. They toured malls, restaurants, tourist attractions, and other venues of the like. Donayre, Harley, and Smith even rode along the roads of Ottawa on electric scooters. 

   If one wishes to join the team, contact hstrin2@bloomu.edu, or come to a meeting in Bakeless 306 at 9 PM Mondays and Wednesdays. The team will travel to their final tournament of the fall semester at Shepherd University on November 4-5th.   

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