Forensic students disappointed at losing chances to compete

Jake Hardin

COVID-19 took so much away. 

Many students, especially seniors, were devastated when losing spring sports, prom and graduation. But other events were canceled, too, including forensics and state journalism.

The forensics season was three months in, and there was a full list of determined competitors who were ready to go big, especially for their last year of the season.

“Obviously, I feel extremely disappointed about the season ending early,” said junior Sean Wentling, who competes in Extemporaneous speaking and Impromptu.

Last-time competitors, such as senior Dan Archer and junior Jack Sallman, have already earned themselves a state qualification, alongside many wins at back-to-back tournaments.

“I feel disappointed. This was my last season, and I lost multiple opportunities,” said Sallman, who is now the second alternate in Original Oration for nationals.

The qualifier for the national tournament that would have taken place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has been canceled. The national tournament will be completely virtual.

“I’m certain that (physically) going to nationals would have given us all more experience and memories to share,” Wentling said.

Previously, the qualifiers would take the top two competitors in each event. Instead, the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) started accepting applications. 

Competitors apply for a chance to be selected for the NSDA national tournament. 

“I think there could have been a better way to prevent potential bias,” Sallman said.

The NSDA national tournament is the week of June 14.

“We are disappointed, as were all activities that were canceled in the spring, but we are fortunate to have a few students participate in the NSDA national tournament,” coach Lynn Miller said.

“It is really difficult to say how this will impact things going forward, because the future is unknown. Again, we are in a better place, because it looks like we will have some opportunities to compete online.”