EMU forensics team wins Michigan Speech League Title for fifth straight year
YPSILANTI — Eastern Michigan University’s forensics team took first place in 10 of 12 events and won the Director’s Trophy for Quality at the Michigan Interscholastic Speech League Title State Championships recently at Wayne State University.
The victory is the fifth consecutive state title (34th overall) for the team, which will head to the National Forensics Association Tournament April 19-23 at Berry College in Rome. Ga. EMU finished fifth at nationals last year.
“We have a strong, strong team dominated by tournament-savvy seniors, so our coaching staff expected a substantial margin of victory. And these kids just wouldn’t disappoint us,” said Ray Quiel, who has been involved with EMU forensics since 1973 and is the current director of the team.
Eastern Michigan finished ahead of runner-up Central Michigan University and Wayne State, which placed third. Hillsdale College, Northwood University, Ferris State University, ,Jackson Community College and Oakland Community College also competed.
Chris Griesinger led the way for EMU, picking up four firsts, a third and a fourth-place finish. Griesinger won the categories of persuasion, after dinner speaking, informative, and combined for first with Billy Coffing for dramatic duo. He finished third in prose interpretation, behind teammates Meghann Janes and Kyle Zrenchik.
Angela Craft, extemporaneous speaking; Vanessa Boatright, poetry interpretation; Richard Brophy, dramatic interpretation and original poetry; and Erika Badour, rhetorical criticism, were EMU’s other first-place finishers.
In addition to his runner-up finish in prose interpretation, Zrenchik took second in three other categories — poetry interpretation, original poetry, and dramatic duo with Vanessa Boatright. Other second-place finishes for EMU include: Badour, after dinner speaking; Adam Rzepka, dramatic interpretation; Emily Winderman, rhetorical criticism; Josh Conway, impromptu; and Angela Craft, quadrathon.
Third-place winners were: Winderman, after dinner speaking and informative; Brophy, rhetorical criticism and quadrathon; Janes and Rzepka, dramatic duo; and Craft, dramatic interpretation.
“It’s exciting because we have 13 seniors and it’s been a goal of ours since we were freshmen to go win a national title,” said Janes, a senior from Centerville, Ohio.
“I think that winning a national title is a tall order, but we have so much talent and dedication on our team,” said Brophy, a junior from Warrenton, Great Britain. “We should be in the thick of it and should have a shot of pulling an upset,”
Western Kentucky University and Bradley University are the likely favorites, Brophy said.
Quiel agreed, but said Eastern Michigan, Illinois State and Arizona State University are in the next tier of potential champions, if the forensics teams were seeded like the NCAA basketball tournament.
Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.
Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.