Webster forensics and debate team wins national honors


Webster University’s Forensics and Debate Team won two national championships and several individual and team awards at the National Comprehensive Forensic Tournament held at the University of Kentucky this past week.

The tournament included 84 schools and 700 students who entered in over 2,400 individual and team events.

The nation’s oldest and largest forensic honor society, Pi Kappa Delta, sponsored the tournament.

Webster student MacLain Naumann won the national championship in prose interpretation, while Olivia Potter received a national title in interviewing.

“It’s a testament to a larger group of students who have spent this year working really hard to represent Webster in a quality way,” Forensics Director Scott Jensen said. “Their win reflects a really important dimension of our team that often goes unnoticed, but it gives me a great deal of pride to be a small part of their accomplishments.”

Naumann said he has been performing for six years. He began in high school and this is his second year on the team at Webster.

Sophomore Kirby Weber was also a semi-finalist for the Reader’s theater. The other semi-finalists were Naumann, Eva Moentmann, Jenny Stickney and Brook Villhard.

“Readers theater is one big performance event with more than one person, unlike most events, so we had five people who all went and performed,” Weber said. “Our program was about having a more comprehensive sex ed program. It’s a group interpretation which we had to perform in three rounds.”

The quarterfinalists were Bri Jones and Angela Meng. Meng is a finalist in editorial impromptu, prose interpretation and novice International Public Debate Association (IPDA) debate. Jones is a finalist in poetry interpretation.

The Octofinalist is Geoff King in junior IPDA debate.

According to a Webster press release, this was one of the most successful nationals in recent memory for the forensic program.

Jensen said the team spent a lot of time practicing with the coaches and alums, so it was a lot of bouncing ideas back and forth.

There were also three Excellence awards presented to Naumann, King and Villhard. Naumann won in interviewing and student congress, King in extemporaneous speaking and Villhard in interviewing.

“Everyone has their own little thing,” Naumann said. “I have weird little sayings I say to myself before I perform, but nothing super interesting.”

Naumann will represent Webster in the National Individual Events Tournament. He will perform both prose and dramatic interpretation as well as after-dinner speaking. It will be held at the University of Florida March 31-April 4.

In April, the team will also host a performance showcase featuring award-winning performances from this year’s members.

“The Forensic program is really strong about team bonding, and our team was really close this year and we came in strong,” Weber said. “I think we had a solid year and hopefully we are able to keep going strong.”

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