NIU, known as ‘cradle of coaches’ in forensics, will host statewide tournament this weekend

Judy Santacaterina
Judy Santacaterina

NIU will host more than 200 students Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2, for the annual Illinois Intercollegiate Forensics Association State Tournament.

NIU has hosted the tournament every other year for the past 25 years and has come to be known as the “cradle of coaches” in the forensics community. So it’s no surprise that this weekend’s event will be a reunion of sorts for many of the team coaches.

Amazingly, the following coaches or directors of forensics all studied at NIU under the tutelage of longtime forensics coach Judy Santacaterina:

  • Kacy Abeln, Kishwaukee College
  • Chase Budziak, Kishwaukee College
  • Bonnie Gabel, McHenry County College
  • Kari Janecke Schimmel, Illinois Central College
  • Christopher Miller, College of DuPage
  • David Naze, Prairie State College
  • Jeff Przybylo, Harper College
  • Lisa Roth, assistant forensics director, NIU
  • Sunny Serres, Harold Washington College
  • Jim Yeager, Highland College
  • Ken Young, Bradley University

Additionally, a number of alumni will be back to serve as judges for the event, including John Butler, who serves on the NIU Board of Trustees.

Preliminary rounds will be Friday and Saturday morning with finals Saturday afternoon at locations in the Holmes Student Center and DuSable Hall. Awards will be presented at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Cole Hall.

NIU’s state team roster includes 11 students from a number of different majors across campus:

  • Bobby Browning, senior, communication ( team president)
  • Lauren Scott, senior, journalism
  • Jimmy Zucker, senior, music education
  • Chris Michels, senior, political science
  • Yanelly Villegas, senior, political science
  • Kyle Larson, junior, Liberal Arts and Sciences BGS
  • Bernard Chestleigh, junior, biology
  • Kevin Bartelt, sophomore, communication/English
  • Steven Cyhaniuk, freshmen, history
  • Julia Boyle, freshmen, communication
  • Crispin Brim, freshmen, mathematics

For more information, call (815) 753-7961 or email jsantaca@niu.edu.

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