Happenings: National Speech Tournament

Texas State to host national speech and debate competition

American Forensics Association Tournament LogoThe American Forensic Association’s 35th Annual National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET) will be held April 6-9, 2012, in San Marcos. Texas State University will host events Saturday, April 7, and Sunday, April 8. The tournament will draw 83 colleges and universities and over 500 competitors from across the United States to compete for the national championship in 11 individual speaking events and the overall team championship.

Texas State becomes the fourth university in Texas to host the national tournament. Previous Texas hosts include the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Texas at Arlington and Rice University.

Western Kentucky from Bowling Green, Kentucky, is the defending national champion. Top challengers for the title include Bradley University, George Mason, and the University of Texas at Austin.

Students must qualify for the tournament and compete in a variety of events including Persuasive Speaking, Informative Speaking, After Dinner Speaking and Impromptu Speaking. Other events involve interpretative readings of prose, poetry and dramatic literature.

Wayne Kraemer, director of forensics at Texas State and host for this year’s AFA-NIET, indicated that the competitors include some of the finest collegiate performers in the nation. “When you see some of these students compete you will be astounded by their performance level,” he said. “The student competitors are exceptional and the final rounds at AFA-NIET are comparable to professional performances.”

Brett Gray, a Texas State junior communication major, finished in fifth place at last year’s AFA-NIET and is looking forward to competing again this year. “While I was incredibly proud of my placement last year, I was also a little disappointed that I didn’t do better,” said Gray. “I’ve set a goal of doing better this year on home turf.”

Texas State is fielding an experienced team that includes five students who competed in the 2011 national finals. The team finished 20th overall and hopes to improve that ranking this year.

“With the tournament on our own campus we will have a comfort level that no other school will have,” said Brandon McCasland, a senior communication studies major on the Texas State team. He added, “We won’t have the extra stress of finding buildings or wondering where our competition rooms are.”

Teams will arrive Friday, April 6, and register at the Embassy Suites Hotel in San Marcos. The tournament will be headquartered in the LBJ Student Center on the Texas State campus, with competition beginning Saturday, April 7, at 8:45 a.m. Preliminary rounds continue Sunday, April 8, along with national quarterfinals. Semi-finals and final rounds will be held Monday, April 9, at the San Marcos Convention Center at the Embassy Suites Hotel. All competitions are open to the general public. View a complete schedule of events here.

The tournament sponsors include Texas State University, the San Marcos Convention and Visitor Bureau, Embassy Suites Hotel and Hewlett-Packard.

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