Students compete in forensics tournament

April 13, 2015
UW-Platteville campus

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Two University of Wisconsin-Platteville students recently competed in the Mid-America Forensics League’s District 4 Qualifying Tournament at South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D. The MAFL is a regional organization that hosts a qualifying tournament each year to help get students ready to compete in the American Forensics League, a national forensics organization.

At the tournament, students could qualify for the American Forensic Association or the National Forensic Association national tournaments. If students qualified or placed, they could also attend the National Forensics League Tournament.

UW-Platteville is in the fourth District, which includes Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska.

Student competitors were Mason Hawes, a sophomore business major from Burlington, Wis., and Emily Loux, a sophomore biology major from Stewartville, Minn. Stephanie Prochaska, a freshman English major from Mineral Point, Wis., was a spectator, watching rounds to learn about forensic presentations and get ideas about topics and categories she would like to compete in.

Hawes, Loux and Prochaska are members of the Pioneer Forensics and Debate Team at UW-Platteville, led and coached by Martin Chislom, speech lecturer at UW-Platteville. Other members of the Pioneer forensics team include Paul Krombos, a sophomore theatre major from Markesan, Wis.; Mikaela Gregory, a freshman psychology major from New Glarus, Wis.; and Emily Yenter, a senior mechanical engineering major from Chetek, Wis.

“The district and national tournaments are wonderful opportunities for UW-Platteville students to research, develop and present literary material to different audiences,” said Chislom. “The tournaments also prepare them for future jobs and positions of leadership.”

Hawes and Loux read and performed their works in front of the tournament director, forensics coaches and hired judges who were former tournament participants and professors.

Hawes competed in the Program Oral Interpretation. In this category, each competitor creates his/her own pieces from segments of songs, articles, blogs, YouTube videos, Internet sources, etc. and addresses current societal issues.

Hawes also competed with Loux in the Duo Interpretation category. In this category, each competitor and his/her partner read and perform a piece of any time length together. The piece can be humorous, sad or a mixture of emotions. Hawes and Loux read and performed “Oreos and Nose Rings” and “The Ketchup Bottle” by Tom Morinelli.

Loux said the challenging part was that competitors were not able to look at or touch their partners while they were presenting or they were disqualified. She said with these limitations, she and Hawes had to make their piece come to life, just as actors do with a script. It was very rewarding, but challenging at the same time, she said.

“The most rewarding part about the competition was seeing the best of the best in District Four,” said Loux. “We saw big schools and individuals that we would normally not see at the smaller meets. The most challenging part about the meet was competing against competitors that we hadn't seen and doing our best in hopes of moving on.”

While the Pioneer Forensics and Debate Team did not place in the tournament, team members remain hopeful for future competitions. “Not placing in the tournament won’t get us down because it was a great experience,” said Loux. “We saw schools we had never seen before, we had the opportunity to try out new pieces and new members had a chance to see what forensics is all about.”

As UW-Platteville pursues its vision of being recognized as the leading student-focused university for its success in achieving excellence, creating opportunities and empowering each individual, it is guided by four strategic planning priorities. The forensics competition aligns with three of the priorities, including providing an outstanding education, fostering a community of achievement and respect and enriching the tri-state region. 

Written by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191, hamerl@uwplatt.edu

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