‘March Madness’ success for NIU Forensics Team

From left: Yanelly Villegas, Andy Robisnon, Bernard Chestleigh, Steven Cyhaniuk, Jimmy Clark, Ben Donovan, Kyle Larson and Lisa Roth.
From left: Yanelly Villegas, Andy Robisnon, Bernard Chestleigh, Steven Cyhaniuk, Jimmy Clark, Ben Donovan, Kyle Larson and Lisa Roth.

The NIU Forensics team continues to enjoy success this spring semester.

The duo of junior Jimmy Clark and sophomore Steven Cyhaniuk placed among the top four nationally in the junior varsity debate category of the annual Pi Kappa Delta National Forensics Tournament, held in Indianapolis earlier this month. The two competed as a team.

The scores of Clark and Cyhaniuk propelled NIU to the semifinals of the competition. Senior Kyle Larson also was among the top 16 individuals in junior varsity debate. And, in the novice division for first-time competitors at the tournament, senior Bernard Chestleigh and junior Andy Robinson placed among the top 16 overall for debate.

“It was a great achievement for our program and for debate coach Lisa Roth, who has worked very hard with the students,” said Judy Santacaterina, forensics coach. “This is our own brand of March Madness. We have not had this strong a showing at Pi Kappa Delta since the late ’80s.”

NIU also hosted a successful Novice National Forensics Tournament from March 14 to 16. More than 25 teams representing six states participated in the competition.

NIU freshman Miracle Diala placed second in informative speaking, while freshman Margaret Koll finished third in extemporaneous speaking, fourth in impromptu speaking and sixth in persuasive speaking. The points accumulated by the pair gave NIU a third-place team finish in its division.

The tournament also provided an opportunity for many of NIU alumni to come back to campus with their own teams from Harper College, the College of DuPage, Kishwaukee College, Highland Community College and Prairie State College. NIU has produced more college speech coaches than any other institution in the state.

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