Freshman Payton DeMars-Sahling, sophomore Hannah Sugita, freshman Faith Osborn and sophomore Tationa Trice at a forensics tournament. Photo courtesy of Faith Osborn.
by Jayme Lowe
The Concordia Speech and Debate forensics team has had a record start to its year, with three school records broken and nine team members headed to the National Forensics Association National Championship Tournament.
Sophomore Melody Niemoth and freshmen Will Helmer, Katie Funk, Payton DeMers-Sahling, Faith Osborn, and Lindsay Range all qualified in one event each. Senior Musa Fofana and sophomore Hannah Sugita both qualified in two events. Sophomore Tationa Trice qualified in three events, one of which is a duo event with Faith Osborn. Combined, the team will have 12 events represented at the national competition.
Niemoth is a first year competitor and has qualified in the Informative Speaking event.
“I’m not competitive except when it comes to speech,” Niemoth said.
Three school records have been broken by the team this year: a record number of meet finalists in one weekend, a record number of national qualifiers in a season, and a record number of national qualifications by a single team member.
The NFA tournament will take place at the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire from April 13-17.
Concordia’s team will also compete on the national level at the National Christian College Forensics Association tournament at Grand Canyon University in March.
Eight other tournaments are lined up for the team in the spring semester, including one home meet in January.
The forensics team pulls from a variety of other Concordia groups. A cheerleader, dance team member and volleyball player all hold a spot in the ranks of the forensics team.
“The coaches are really great and everyone is really supportive of each other,” Niemoth said.
Director of Forensics Andrew Moffitt said the team has doubled in size in just one year.
“We’ll be looking down the road to continue to grow the team…to make it a very competitive team here in state and also a competitive team among the Christian universities,” Moffitt said.
Moffitt said he hopes to increase the team to between 30-40 students over the next few years.
“(We want) to make the team…a place where students can come to broaden their horizons, to get those new viewpoints, to really hone their skills and to talk with people who have like-minded interests and desires for becoming better citizens in church and world,” Moffitt said.
For more information about the forensics team, email Andrew Moffitt at email@example.com.