[Normal, IL] For only the second time this year, the entire team travelled to an in person tournament. Debaters and speech competitors arrived at Illinois State University in Normal, IL ready to perform one last time. Director of Debate, John Boyer, was the tournament director, but Scott Placke (Director of Forensics), Luisa Gunn (Assistant Debate Coach), and Saeed Malami (alumni judge) spent the week getting the students ready to compete!

After four grueling and rewarding days of competition, Lafayette placed NINE events into the elimination rounds! Junior, Shirley Liu, advanced to the Octofinal round in Rhetorical Criticism! James Hixenbaugh finished 4th in the novice impromptu final round! Baris Yazici was crowned the novice NATIONAL CHAMPION in Lincoln-Douglas debate! But it was the seniors that stole the show. Sophomore, Jacob Moldover advanced to the Octofinal round in Lincoln-Douglas debate before losing on a 2-1 decision to the eventual national champion. Jacob also made it to the quarterfinal round in Extemp!

Senior, Yordanos Mengistu, achieved her goal of debating in the elimination rounds at the national tournament and did! Yordanos lost to a very tough opponent, but we are so proud of her double octofinalist award!

It was senior, Kelly Mwaamba, who stole the show. Kelly put together the single best performance at NFA in Lafayette history. Kelly made TWO national final rounds, finishing 5th and 6th in Prose and Persuasion respectively. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, Kelly also made ADS and Impromptu quarterfinals and octofinals in Poetry.

As a team, the LDers finished 7th in team sweepstakes and the speech team took 7th in the President’s II division and was 17th place overall, one of the highest finishes in team history.

After a long national tournament, the students were excited to get back home and start preparing for next year. Everyone except for two students. State champion, Shirley Liu, and Kelly Mwaamba qualified to represent the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at the Interstate Oratorical Association’s national tournament…