Feb 16, 2010

Forensics team off to quick start

by Abby Armbruster

Led by a pair of self-proclaimed freshmen dorks, the members of Liberty University’s Forensics team not only pride themselves on their personalities but also have trophies to back it up.

Though the team is in its first year of resurrection since the 1980s, the team earned 43 trophies since last semester, with four of the trophies being team sweepstakes, meaning Liberty’s team did the best overall in that tournament.

The team, which has nine members overall, is new at Liberty.
“No one on our team has had experience on the collegiate level before,” adjunct Coach and Director of Forensics and Individual Events Andrew Jones said.

Some members of the forensics team traveled to Wilkes-Barre, Pa., over the Jan. 29 weekend for the Wilkes-Barre Invitational and placed third in Limited Entries Team Sweepstakes.

Dramatic duo pair, freshmen Josh Wade and Colin Dowd, went to final rounds in the tournament as did senior Meridith Brush, who placed in Program Oral Interpretation.

Brush competes in five categories on average each week. Jones encourages all team members to be in at least three events.

“If a student is only doing interpretation events, it’s only showing one side of their power,” Jones said. He also said the skills learned while in the different events help students think on their feet and formulate speeches more easily in the long run.

Despite having trained together for less than a year, Wade and Dowd have performed well. Wade joined the Forensics team in high school, while Dowd is a first-timer this year.

“My high school didn’t have a forensics team, but one day Josh approached me and told me about this cool thing called forensics and that I should come to a meeting. Needless to say, I really enjoyed it,” Dowd said.

Their piece, entitled “Real Ultimate Power: The Official Ninja Book,” debuted this semester and received first and second place this semester at Westchester University and Wilkes University, respectively.

Last semester, Wade and Dowd competed with a selection from Dr. Seuss’s “Horton Hears A Who.”

“One of the things I try to go for is to really push the students to pick their own pieces,” Jones said. “My goal for the team has been revitalizing the classics.”

One of those classics is Brush’s current piece with two poems by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

“It’s really nice to hear the classics coming alive in a young voice,” Jones said.

The hardest thing the pair runs into is scheduling times to practice, according to both Wade and Dowd.

A team practice is scheduled every week, along with additional individual practices at least once a week.

Jones improves the practice meetings, according to Wade.
“He is so helpful and always has something witty and funny to say just when you need it. He is a cool cat and he looks like a mix between the lost Beatle and Harry Potter,” Wade said.

In addition to performing their piece, Wade and Dowd have made friends with other competitors from rival schools such as St. Joseph’s University, James Madison University, Westchester University, Cedar Crest College and George Mason University, according to Wade.

The team’s next tournament will be at George Mason University for a state tournament on Feb. 20. The team’s last tournament will be at Cedarville University in the National Christian College Forensics Association tournament the weekend before spring break.

Contact Abby Armbruster at

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