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2013.04.16 > For Immediate Release
contact: Charley Reed - University Communications
phone: 402.554.2129 - email: cdreed@unomaha.edu

UNO Forensics Team Makes History at National Tournament

Omaha - The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) forensics team made history on Monday, April 8, as it became just one of seven schools in the nearly 40-year history of the American Forensics Association (AFA) to place in the Top 10 nationally for four consecutive years, earning a sixth place finish at this year’s National Individual Events Tournament (NIET).

With their sixth place finish, UNO finishes the season as the highest ranked Nebraska university and higher than other programs at Florida State University, Louisiana State University, Seton Hall University and The Ohio State University.

Beyond its sixth place ranking, UNO also ranked third in “quality” score, which takes a team’s total points and divides it by the number of participating students. With 11 competitors, UNO’s team was half or one-third the size of other institutions finishing in the top 10.

“These students delivered another groundbreaking performance on the national stage,” said Abbie Syrek, coach of the UNO forensics team. “We could not be prouder of the legacy these speakers have continued in an activity with remarkable fluidity.”

The 2013 AFA tournament took place on the campus of Hutchinson Community College in Kansas from Saturday, April 6, through Monday, April 8, and consisted of 11 speaking events. UNO featured at least one student in the quarterfinal, semifinal, or final rounds of each of the 11 events.

At this year’s tournament, UNO set school records for the number of students to make it to quarterfinal rounds with 19 and for the number of individual sweepstakes awards with three.

“While the national tournament results are thrilling, the true legacy it creates is reflected in the academic excellence, leadership skills, professionalism and overall growth of our students,” Syrek said. “It truly changes lives.”

A full list of UNO’s successes follows:

Senior Lauren Ackerman was ranked as the 12th overall speaker in the country out of over 450 competitors, making it to the finals of Prose Interpretation and Duo Interpretation; the semifinals of Program of Oral Interpretation; and quarterfinals of Dramatic Interpretation.

Junior QueenTara Pimentel was ranked as the 14th overall speaker in the country, making it to the finals of Duo Interpretation (with Ackerman) and Poetry Interpretation, as well as the quarterfinals of Program of Oral Interpretation.

Junior Cole Evans was ranked as the 20th overall speaker in the country, making it to the semifinals of Prose Interpretation and the quarterfinals of Program of Oral Interpretation and Informative Speaking.

Junior Traelon Graham advanced to the semifinals of Program of Oral Interpretation, as well as the quarterfinals in Duo Interpretation and Prose interpretation.

Sophomore Natalie Schneider became UNO’s first-ever quarterfinalist in Extemporaneous Speaking, also advancing to the quarterfinals of Communication analysis and semifinals of Persuasive Speaking.

Sophomore Dan Cutter advanced to the Poetry Interpretation quarterfinals.

Sophomore Karlee Currin advanced to the quarterfinals in After Dinner Speaking.

Freshman Nithya Rajagopalan advanced to the quarterfinals in Impromptu Speaking.

Freshmen Bridget Hames, Preston Prauner and Catie Zaleski all contributed to preliminary round sweepstakes victories.

For more information about UNO’s forensics team, contact Abbie Syrek at 402.554.3952.

For media requests, contact Charley Reed, UNO media relations coordinator, at 402.554.2129 or by email at cdreed@unomaha.edu.

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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© 2014 University Communications. voice: 402.554.2129, fax: 402.554.3541, unonews@unomaha.edu