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UW-RF Hosts Annual Forensics Tourney

By Molly Exner
UW-RF News Bureau

NOV. 12, 2004--Seventeen universities, colleges and junior colleges across the Midwest participated in the 29th annual forensics tournament hosted by the University of Wisconsin-River Falls on Saturday, Oct. 30.

Nearly 100 students from Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota competed in 12 events. Gustavus Adolphus College earned first-place school sweepstakes honors, beating out second-place St. Cloud State University and third-place UW-Madison.

Although UW-RF did not place in the overall final round, the forensics team earned reputable honors in two individual events. UW-RF students Renee Schott, Adam Helmbach and Melissa Lutes participated in the tourney.

Helmbach, a junior from Brule, Wis., with a double major in English and speech education, walked away with his second first-place win this year by receiving top honors in drama interpretation. Schott, a senior from Greenleaf, Wis., majoring in pre-vet animal science, took fifth place in informative speaking.

Kathleen Olsen, director of forensics and lecturer in the speech communication and theater arts department, says the most enjoyable aspect of being a part of the UW-RF forensics team is working with the students one-on-one. "It's a great opportunity to get to know them on a more personal level, outside of the classroom, and watch them grow and develop as speakers," she said.

James Pratt, co-director of forensics and professor of speech communications and theatre arts, agrees. "My career in debate and forensics has been the formation of strong and lasting bonds between coach and student. I'm honored by the accomplishments of the students I've coached, and I value their friendship and respect."

Both Olsen and Pratt are no strangers to forensics. They've been coaching and judging tournaments for more than 40 years. Both Olsen and Pratt started competing in high school and continued through college. Pratt was the executive secretary for the Twin Cities Forensics League for 36 years and has been involved with debate and forensics at UW-RF since 1977. Olsen has been coaching the UW-RF team for 8 years.

At an earlier tournament in mid-October, the UW-RF speech team won two awards at the Twin Cities Forensics League. Schott and Helmbach placed first in duo interpretation and Schott took second in informative speaking. In addition, Lutes, a freshman from Apple Valley, Minn., took first-place in program oral interpretation at a Twin Cities Forensics League Tournament held Nov. 2.


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Last updated: Tuesday, 22-Jun-2010 16:21:17 Central Daylight Time

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