Students represent APU at national speech tournament

APU students represented the Cougars at the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament held at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas from April 6-8.

Members of the APU Forensics team who competed in the tournament included Joel Eblin, Maddie Woodward and Matt Guest. Each competed in preliminary rounds for various events including Program Oral Interpretation, Dramatic Duo Interpretation, After Dinner Speaking, Dramatic Interpretation, Prose Interpretation, Persuasive Speaking and Impromptu Speaking.

“This tournament was a time for our team to show the many other schools the quality of our performances while also showing the importance of the messages of our performances,” senior political science major Joel Eblin said.

Invitations for the event are granted based upon individual achievement. According to Eblin, the qualification process requires individuals to perform well at multiple local tournaments.

According to the AFA-NIET webpage, the first tournament was held in 1978 for 168 student participants. The tournament now hosts over a thousand participants from universities and colleges across the nation.

“The national level is extremely hard, and many other schools have bigger teams with more coaches. But the goal or team had was to do the best we could and show the other teams that we had quality performances,” Eblin said.

Three preliminary rounds are held for each event. Participants that compete in the quarterfinals are chosen from those rankings, and from there move onto the semifinal and final competitions.

Although there is another national level speech tournament that the National Forensics Association hosts, Eblin said the AFA-NIET is the more difficult tournament to qualify for.

“This tournament, and forensics in general, had taught me how to step outside of my comfort zone and be able to interact and speak in front of a large audience of compete strangers,” Eblin said.

According to the APU Forensics team page, the objective of the team is to engage in debates, public address events, oral interpretations and limited preparation events.

For more information of the APU Forensics Team visit