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Forensics Team Excels

By Molly Exner
UW-RF News Bureau

FEB. 18, 2005--The enduring force of the UW-River Falls forensics team marched on as it attended its fourth tournament this year at the Twin Cities Forensics League Tournament at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minn. on Jan. 25.

Renee Schott, a senior from Greenleaf, Wis., who is majoring in pre-vet animal science, and Adam Helbach, a junior from Brule, Wis., who has a double major in English and speech education, composed the winning team.

Top honors in duo interpretation were given to Schott and Helbach, who are no strangers to first-place wins. The victory was the pair's fourth first-place win in the same category this year.

Schott, who's been involved with forensics since her freshman year at UW-RF, also took third place in informative speaking with a speech on the eradication of polio over the last 50 years. This was Schott's fourth time finishing in the top three this year, thus qualifying her for the American Association's Tournament of Champions held in April at the University of Kansas in Lawerence. The Schott and Helbach's duo also qualified.

Helbach took second in dramatic interpretation. This was Helbach's first second-place win in the last four tournaments; the rest were all first-place wins.

Kathy Olsen, director of forensics and instructor of speech communications and theatre arts at UW-RF, said she believes the quality and commitment of individual team members is a driving force behind the team's success.

James Pratt, co-director of forensics and professor of speech communications and theatre arts at UW-RF, agrees. "The beauty of forensic competition is that each individual student can compete and advance independently," he said. "Although there are team awards, the awards for each individual event are most important."

Both Olsen and Pratt competed in the Twin Cities Forensics League while they were in college. Pratt was the executive secretary of the league for more than 36 years and has been involved with UW-RF debate and forensics since 1977.


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