Speech: WKU named 2019 NFA National Champions

Amanda Langford of White House High School is a freshman on the Western Kentucky University Forensics Team, which was named the 2019 NFA National Champions. Story and photos courtesy of Western Kentucky University on Facebook.


Seniors on the WKU Forensics Team signaled the team’s “4s Up” slogan at this spring’s 2019 NFA national tournament. After a change in final results, WKU has been named the national champions of the 2019 AFA National Individual Events Tournament.

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The WKU Forensics Team has been named the national champions of the 2019 American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament, after a two-month investigation found that two students of the original winning school had violated the league’s code of standards.

The WKU Forensics Team had been announced in April as second place, but this change makes WKU the AFA NIET team sweepstakes champions for the first time since 2015.

One of Bradley University’s national finalist teams in duo interpretation was retroactively disqualified, resulting in a reduction of the entire school’s team sweepstakes points that the duo interpretation ranking originally conferred. This dropped Bradley University’s team sweepstakes ranking to second place and moved WKU to the top.

This change may also affect rankings in individual sweepstakes, which is a measure of an individual’s success across multiple competition events at one tournament. The AFA NIET does not intend to finalize this decision, however, until November. If the league follows through, this may raise the individual sweepstakes ranks of one or more of the following WKU team members: graduating senior Casey Child (originally fifth), rising junior Derek Collins (originally sixth) and rising junior Rickey Williams (originally 16th). However, graduating senior Andrea Ambam’s Individual Sweepstakes National Championship remains unchanged.

The league opted to not re-rank the remainder of the duo interpretation finalists, though, so those ranks will stand as they were announced in April. WKU had two teams in that final round.

WKU sent 20 competitors with a total of 66 entries to the AFA national tournament. Of the 66 total entries, 36 advanced to quarterfinal rounds, 26 advanced to the semifinal round, and 12 events made it to the final rounds of competition. Last year, the team fielded 31 quarterfinalists, 21 semifinalists and 15 finalists.

WKU Forensics Team’s results from the 42nd Annual American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament are as follows:

  • Andrea Ambam, a senior from Peculiar, Missouri, national champion in individual sweepstakes, second in persuasive speaking, second in after-dinner speaking, second in poetry interpretation, third in programmed oral interpretation, fourth in informative speaking and fifth in prose interpretation.
  • Derek Collins, a sophomore from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, national champion in informative speaking, national champion in communication analysis, third in duo interpretation (with Emma Warnecke), sixth in individual sweepstakes and quarterfinalist in persuasive speaking.
  • Casey Child, a senior from Taylor Mill, fifth in individual sweepstakes, semifinalist in dramatic interpretation, semifinalist in prose interpretation, semifinalist in informative speaking, semifinalist in duo interpretation (with Tayland Ratliff) and quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Reese Johnson).
  • Emma Warnecke, a sophomore from West Bloomfield, Michigan, third in duo interpretation (with Derek Collins), semifinalist in poetry interpretation and semifinalist in programmed oral interpretation.
  • Rickey Williams, a sophomore from Minneapolis, Minnesota, fifth in poetry interpretation, 16th in individual sweepstakes, semifinalist in duo interpretation (with Ryan Gosling) and quarterfinalist in communication analysis.
  • Faith LoPiccolo, a junior from Lexington, fifth in after-dinner speaking and semifinalist in prose interpretation.
  • Reese Johnson, a freshman from Burnsville, Minnesota, sixth in duo interpretation (with Matt Wisenden) and quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Casey Child).
  • Matt Wisenden, a senior from Moorhead, Minnesota, sixth in duo interpretation (with Reese Johnson) and quarterfinalist in informative speaking.
  • Lane Hedrick, a senior from Morehead, semifinalist in informative speaking and semifinalist in extemporaneous speaking.
  • Ryan Gosling, a sophomore from West Palm Beach, Florida, semifinalist in duo interpretation (with Rickey Williams) and quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Corey Newsome).
  • Tayland Ratliff, a sophomore from Youngsville, Louisiana, semifinalist in duo interpretation (with Casey Child).
  • Brian Anderson, a senior from Hodgenville, semifinalist in impromptu speaking.
  • Sal Tinajero Jr., a junior from Santa Ana, California, quarterfinalist in after-dinner speaking and quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Sabas Del Toro).
  • Sabas Del Toro, a senior from El Paso, Texas, quarterfinalist in programmed oral interpretation and quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Sal Tinajero Jr.).
  • Natalie Hedberg, a senior from Chaska, Minnesota, quarterfinalist in informative speaking.
  • Kelly Lingen, a freshman from Lakeville, Minnesota, semifinalist in poetry interpretation.
  • Corey Newsome, a sophomore from Morehead, quarterfinalist in duo interpretation (with Ryan Gosling).
  • Zakkiyah Sanders, a sophomore from Apple Valley, Minnesota, quarterfinalist in after-dinner speaking.
  • Bradley Wascher, a junior from Montgomery, Alabama, quarterfinalist in impromptu speaking.

More: Check out the WKU Forensics Facebook page or follow @wkuforensics on Twitter.

Contact: Ganer Newman, (270) 745-6340

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