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April 24, 2007
CONTACT: Ron Podell

EMU's award-winning forensics team places second at nationals

YPSILANTI — Eastern Michigan University's award-winning forensics team placed second nationally to Western Kentucky University at the National Forensics Association Tournament, which took place April 19-23 at Berry College in Rome, Ga.

Forensics team
On the bus, leaving for Georgia

The performance was the best showing for EMU nationally in more than a decade and exceeded expectations, said Ray Quiel, director of EMU’s forensics team, who, weeks prior, had predicted Western Kentucky and Bradley University as the likely favorites, with EMU in the next tier of potential champions with Illinois State University and Arizona State University.

"I never thought second place would taste so good!" said Quiel who has been associated with nine national EMU championships.

Eastern Michigan's Chris Griesinger, a senior from Middletown, Ohio, was a three-time national champion, placing first in the categories of prose interpretation, after dinner speaking and persuasive speaking. Griesinger also placed second in informative speaking and in the pentathlon (top speaker in the nation), for overall performance in five or more events.

Teammate Kyle Zrenchik, a senior from Westland, grabbed second in persuasive speaking; placed third in poetry interpretation; teamed with Vanessa Boatwright, a senior from Shelby Twp., to take another third in dramatic duo; and fourth in after dinner speaking. Zrenchik also placed third in the pentathlon.

Overall, EMU had 24 students qualify in nine speaking categories during the four-day tournament. After the quarterfinal and semi-final rounds, EMU qualified nine finalists.

 “EMU is back!” said Judy Sturgis-Hill, an assistant professor in communication and theatre arts and EMU’s first-ever forensics national champion in 1972 for after dinner speaking and interstate oratory. “It has been a glorious day for EMU forensics. Alumni in Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Florida, Texas and elsewhere have been in regular contact with the team and the department.”

Arizona State placed third, Bradley fourth and Illinois State fifth, in the competition.

Below: the team prepares to leave for Georgia.


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.

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