Members of the WKU forensics team placed first in the team draws at the University of Alabama. Front row (left to right): Samantha Sallee, Gabriella Abaunza Hernandez, Denise Marin, Rashon Leday, Noah Gordon, Mauricio Patino. Middle row (left to right): Kirsten Eversmann, Cecilia Alali, Caitlyn Woitena, Reggie Jefferson, Danielle Williams, Rachael Akinbayo, Christian Butterfield, Jaleon Brown. Back row (left to right): Kole Ingram, Jonah Johnson, Collin Tuerk, Joey Eberle, Dakota Perry.

The WKU Forensics team won the team competition championship in a tournament held in Tuscaloosa, Alabama at the University of Alabama on October 15-16.

During the two tournaments, WKU students won a championship in seven of 11 events and won 38 finals in total. WKU finished ahead of the University of Florida, Cornell University, Bradley University and George Mason University.

Forensics director Ganer Newman said, “Our students have taken a lot of initiative to prepare for this competition. While their teammates were debating in Pennsylvania the weekend before last, our speech contestants booked a room on campus to accommodate extra practice time. I’m proud of all of our coaches for their hard work, especially Individual Events Director Ben Robin and Interpretive Coach Sean Diaz for driving the students to Tuscaloosa and providing exceptional on-site coaching to help WKU win the weekend. -end!

The forensic team will compete virtually in their next competition during the Online Asynchronous Tournament Series 2 on October 24. The next in-person competition will be the biggest single-event competition the team will face before the national championships in April, the LE Norton Invitational hosted by Bradley University Nov. 5-6.

Crimson Classic results

  • After-dinner speeches: Caitlyn Woitena of Houston, Texas, 1st; Racheal Akinbayo of Houston, Texas, 6th.
  • Communication Analysis: Tani Washington of Henrico, Va., 1st; Collin Tuerk of Morehead, Kentucky, 2nd.
  • Dramatic interpretation: Reggie Jefferson from Houston, Texas, 2nd; Caitlyn Woitena, 5th.
  • Duet Performance: Jonah Johnson of Burnsville, Minnesota, and Rashon Leday of Lafayette, Louisiana, 1st; Cece Alali of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Jonah Johnson, 4th; Caitlyn Woitena and Samantha Sallee of Danville, Kentucky, 5th.
  • Impromptu speech: Joey Eberle of Maple Grove, Minnesota, 5th.
  • Impromptu Speech: Christian Butterfield of Bowling Green, Kentucky, 1st.
  • Informative Talk: Joey Eberle, 2nd; Rachel Akinbayo, 3rd; Cece Alali, 6th.
  • Persuasive Speech: Kole Ingram of Hindman, Kentucky, 1st.
  • Interpretation of poetry: Cece Alali, 1st.
  • Oral interpretation of the program: Christian Butterfield, 2nd; Noah Gordon of Pittsburg, Calif., 4th.
  • Interpretation in prose: Samantha Sallee, 3rd; Mauricio Patino of Stockton, Calif., 6th.

University of Alabama Alumni Tournament Results

  • Speech after dinner: Christian Butterfield, 1st; Caitlyn Woitena, 3rd.
  • Communication Analysis: Tani Washington, 1st; Collin Tuerk, 6th.
  • Dramatic interpretation: Reggie Jefferson, 4th; Caitlyn Woitena, 5th; Denise Martin of Houston, Texas, 6th.
  • Duet interpretation: Cece Alali and Jonah Johnson, 1st; Rashon Leday and Jonah Johnson, 2nd; Caitlyn Woitena and Samantha Sallee, 5th.
  • Improvised speaking: Tani Washington, 4th.
  • Impromptu Speech: Christian Butterfield, 2nd.
  • Informative speaking: Samantha Sallee, 1st; Cece Alali, 4th.
  • Persuasive Speech: Kole Ingram, 3rd.
  • Interpretation of poetry: Cece Alali, 1st.
  • Oral interpretation of the program: Noah Gordon, 6e.
  • Prose interpretation: Jonah Johnson, 2nd.

After: Check out the WKU Forensics Facebook page or follow @wkuforensics and @DebateWku on Twitter.

Contact: Ganer Newman, (270) 745-6340.


Western Kentucky University prides itself on positioning its students, faculty, and staff for long-term success. As student-centered, applied research university, WKU helps students expand classroom learning by integrating education with real-world applications in the communities we serve. Our hilltop campus is located in Bowling Green, Kentuckywhich was recently named by Reader’s Digest as one of America’s Most Beautiful Cities, just an hour’s drive from Nashville, Tennessee.

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