Forensics team shines at one national tournament, prepares for another
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
If there’s any quote that could perfectly capture the Doane Forensics team, that would probably be it.
What they lack in numbers, they don’t lack in heart. Doane’s forensics team has been nationally ranked for a number of years and this year is no different. With only five members on this year’s team (six members last year, traditionally have between 8-12 students), Doane placed 5th out of 35 teams at the National Speech Championship, held March 24-25 in Lincoln.
At the competition, all five individuals (Kenny Benraty ’18, Alan Hurless ’19, Allison Jasso ’21, Cameron Swanson ’21, Brandon Madison ’20) contributed points to the team’s placement and every event the team competed in advanced to an elimination round. Doane placed ahead of a number of large, public universities, including the University of Florida, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. George Mason University won the competition.
“I am very proud of the team,” said Nathaniel Wilson, the director of forensics at Doane. “What they pulled off at the tournament was beyond what I expected.”
Some highlights from the tournament include having five finalists, one semifinalist, and eight quarterfinalists. Benraty won three individual events (prose, program of oral interpretation, and informative) while no other team won more than two events. Now in his senior year, Benraty has had success in previous years at tournaments, but his accomplishments at NSC are yet another stamp of approval that he is one of the best performers in the country.
“Kenny is an all-star,” Wilson said. “Aside from being a very successful competitor, he understands the purpose of the activity and the values of the team in a very deep way.”
The National Speech Championship was a tournament held for only the second year. It was a great opportunity for Doane’s team to compete against some larger universities and prepare them for this weekend’s American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET) in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Around 80 schools are expected to be in the competition, which will be held Saturday-Monday.
“No matter the size of our team, we put in the work to make our speeches the best they can possibly be,” Benraty said. “When you combine that with our passion, the results from this past tournament comes as no surprise.”
Hurless added, “We put our hearts into our speeches and it shows. When a smaller team of caring people really put time and energy into our speeches, we can compete at the same level as larger schools.”
Doane will look to have continued success at AFA, where it has finished in the top 20 in each of the last nine years. Doane has placed 16th the last two years.
“I think our success speaks to the culture of the team and the legacy that alumni before us have left behind to follow,” Benraty said. “Doane has always had a reputation as having one of the best programs in the country and our passion and hard work is what keeps us there.”