ASU forensics team places 15th in the nation


Lisa Robbins

Six Arizona State University students from the forensics team placed 15th at the prestigious National Individual Events Tournament (NIET). The National Individual Events Tournament, organized each year by the American Forensics Association, was hosted by Bradley University, April 1–3.

Senior Kohinoor Gill and junior Abbey Toye led the way, each reaching the finals with one of their competitive speeches. Across his six events, Gill amassed enough points to place 17th out of all speakers at the tournament — awards are handed out to the top 20. Senior Ben Steele, sophomore Sachin Kumar and freshmen Erin Guiney and Alexander Haw rounded out the team effort that saw the team once again place in the top 20. This year’s NIET had a total of 72 schools represented with 486 students competing in the competitions.

Toye qualified three events to the NIET: Persuasion, Dramatic Interpretation, and Prose Interpretation. She finished in 6th place out of 144 competitors in the event. Toye ranked 18th heading into the quarterfinals, but she managed to upset strong fields of competitors in both the quarterfinals and the semifinals to advance to the finals. This is her first event to reach elimination rounds at the NIET.

Gill qualified in six events to the NIET: Extemporaneous Speaking, Impromptu Speaking, Informative Speaking, Communication Analysis, After Dinner Speaking, and Duo Interpretation. After preliminary rounds, he advanced in three of those events (Extemporaneous, Impromptu, and Informative) to the quarterfinals. Gill further advanced in Extemporaneous and Impromptu to the semifinals, pushing on to finals in Extemporaneous Speaking. He emerged from the preliminary rounds as 5th in Extemporaneous and ultimately placing 2nd in the finals round, out of a field of 113 competitors. A graduating senior, Gill reached elimination rounds in at least 1 event all four years at the NIET. In all, he amassed 2 finals appearances, 4 semifinals appearances, and 10 quarterfinals appearances.

The two finals appearances by Toye and Gill provided a large percentage of the team's points, but alone these performances would not have landed the Sun Devils in the top 20. Strong performances by all six competitors in the 17 other events provided the difference. Steele contributed points in Extemporaneous and Impromptu. Sophomore Sachin Kumar added to the total in After Dinner Speaking, Extemporaneous, Impromptu, Informative, and Duo Interpretation (with Kohinoor Gill as his partner). Guiney and Haw each contributed in a single event, Communication Analysis for Guiney and Program Oral Interpretation for Haw.

Written by Adam Symonds, forensics team director