Doane Forensics earns top 20 finish at national speech tournament

The Doane Forensics team concluded their season this past weekend with an impressive showing at the American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET), which showcases some of the best speech and forensics teams in the country.


Doane finished 16th overall at the national tournament held in Peoria, Illinois, where 74 colleges competed. Doane’s top-20 finish is extra impressive considering the size of this year’s team. Doane has six students on the team, including only one senior.


“We felt really good after the competition,” said Nathaniel WIlson, Director of Forensics at Doane University. “To put it into perspective, the team on average is typically 12-15 students so this year we had a much smaller team. Last year we took 16th in the nation and this year with half the number of students and about half the number of events qualified we placed the same. I’m very happy and proud of them.”


The students comprising Doane’s team include Caitria West-Warren ’17, Rachel Jacobsen ’18, Sarah Peterson ’18, Kennerly David Benraty ’18, Trey Perry ’19, and Christian Stacy ’20. Nathaniel Wilson and Jennifer Torres are the coaches on staff.


The six students qualified for 23 events total at the tournament, which is widely regarded as the most difficult national speech tournament to qualify for.


The events are broken into three different categories: Public Address, Interpretation of Literature, and Limited Preparation.


Benraty placed in the top 12 in the Program of Oral Interpretation (POI) category and in the Top 24 of Informative Speaking. The lone senior on the team, Caitria West-Warren, placed in the top 24 in POI.


“It makes me proud to say Doane is home to some of the best public speakers in the country,” Wilson said. “The work they put in throughout the year is incredible. When it comes to the public address speeches it’s very comparable to the kind of work that’s done in grad school. To work with undergraduates performing at that level is very impressive.”


Doane’s success at the AFA-NIET is nothing new for the university. Doane has consistently placed among the top 20 colleges in the last decade, including a 10th place finish in 2015.


According to Wilson, the AFA-NIET is the second-largest collegiate speech tournament in the country. This past weekend marked the end of the season for the Doane forensics team, which included 19 weekends of competition throughout the school year.


“It was an amazing weekend,” Wilson said. “The students came together and pulled something off that was pretty incredible. We’re really happy and already excited for next season.”

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