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Bethel will send its entire forensics squad to national tournament

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – After the final forensics tournament before nationals in early April, Bethel College has qualified every member of its squad.

The American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET) will be held April 2-4 at the University of Florida in Gainesville and all eight Bethel team members have at least one event.

The Bethel squad will have a “Night Before Nationals” Showcase, open to the public, March 29 in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center.

This follows the District III Tournament, which Bethel hosted on its campus March 5.

With a 2nd-place finish in Persuasive Speaking, freshman Heather Chaney, Erie, has her first-ever qualifying event for collegiate nationals. She also placed 5th in Informative Speaking.

Kendra Gonzales, sophomore from Minneapolis, finished 1st in Informative Speaking, qualifying that as her second event to nationals. She was also 6th in Prose Interpretation.

Autumn Masters, junior from Newton, was 3rd in Program of Oral Interpretation (POI) and 4th in Poetry Interpretation, qualifying both events to nationals. She also took 7th in Prose Interpretation.

Junior Clinton Unruh, Newton, placed 3rd in Extemporaneous Speaking and 4th in Informative Speaking. He also qualified the two events to nationals, making three total for him.

In addition, at the District III Tournament, Candy Dao, freshman from Salina, was 4th in Prose Interpretation and Emily Kondziola, freshman from North Newton was “next out” in Informative Speaking.

Bethel forensics squad members have now qualified in 10 separate events, as follows:

  • Jacob Miller, junior from Westmoreland: After Dinner Speaking, Communication Analysis, Informative, Impromptu, Persuasive
  • Shekhinah Jones, sophomore from Salina: Poetry, Prose, Persuasive
  • Unruh: Extemporaneous, Impromptu, Informative
  • Masters: Poetry, POI
  • Gonzales: Informative, POI
  • Dao: Dramatic Interpretation, Poetry
  • Kondziola: Extemporaneous, Impromptu
  • Chaney: Persuasive

“This was a particularly rewarding regular season, because even though we have a relatively young squad, the team managed to qualify every member to AFA-NIET,” said Mallory Marsh, head forensics coach.

“Additionally, this team qualified more events for the national tournament than Bethel has had in at least the last decade.” Her records go back to 2005.

“The team and coaching staff are excited as we move into the preparation for nationals,” she continued. “We will have a ‘Night Before Nationals’ Forensics Showcase March 29 in Krehbiel Auditorium from 7-9 p.m. This is rated PG-13 due to some mature content and language.

“We hope the Bethel community is able to come out and support the team prior to their trip to AFA-NIET.”

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2015'16 analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States, and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2015'16. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.