Forensics team wins state titles

Two qualify for National Tournament

A close-knit crew of five students can be found in the forensics office at least 10 hours per week studying speeches, working on homework and attending weekly meetings and teaching sessions.

Nestled in DeMoss 3394, the Liberty University Forensics Speech Team is the latest unsung state champion to grace the campus.

On Saturday, Feb. 19, the team hosted the Virginia and D.C. state’s competition on the second floor of DeMoss. There, they reaped state champion titles in program oral interpretation, dramatic duo interpretation, and after dinner speaking.

Judges named Liberty sophomore and team captain Colin Dowd top speaker in the state after he placed first in program oral interpretation, first in dramatic duo interpretation with teammate Josh Wade, fourth in impromptu speaking and sixth in dramatic interpretation.

Assistant coach and former team captain, Meridith Brush was pleased with the performance.

“(Winning states) as a sophomore, that is a really big honor. A lot of the students who compete in this are seniors who have been doing this a lot of years and who have even done it in high school, “ Brush said, “Collin was new to forensics when he came as a freshman and has been incredibly successful.”

Dowd and Wade have already qualified for the American Forensics Association National Tournament on April 2 through 5 at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. The tournament is the most competitive in the nation.
“I’m incredibly proud of my team and can’t wait to see what they’ll do at nationals,” Brush said.

However, this success was not easily won. According to Brush, team members began preparing speeches over the summer, which they work all year long to perfect.

“I want to become a lawyer in the future. This provides the tools that help me become a better speaker by getting feedback from people I normally would not get responses from,” Dowd said of his effort.

There is another, greater purpose behind the forensic team as well. The Liberty team, which has traveled to various schools in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland and will soon travel to Nebraska and Illinois, is the only Christian school in its conference.

“The ability to speak as Christians in front of people who do not believe as you do and the ability to do it well are some of the most important things we teach,” Brush said.

Students are able to connect with students from different schools with similar interests who may have adverse attitudes toward Christianity and change that for the better.

“When we act as Christians we are constantly being a witness … we’re really changing their perspective of Christianity as a whole,” Dowd said.

The team was recently able to encourage a new Christian at Cedarcrest College in Allentown, Pa. who did not know of any fellow Christians at her school.

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