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Bethel will take entire forensics team to nationals in April

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College’s young forensics team has accomplished a clean sweep, with every one of its members qualifying to the national tournament, three of them for the first time.

The team competed March 7 in Tyler, Texas, at their final regular-season tournament. Clinton Unruh, sophomore from Newton, qualified his second event, Impromptu Speaking, and Kendra Gonzalez, freshman from Minneapolis, qualified in Prose Interpretation.

The five team members will compete in the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET), April 3-6 at Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon, in the following events:

Jacob Miller, sophomore from Westmoreland, in Informative Speaking, Impromptu Speaking, Persuasive Speaking, After Dinner Speaking and Communication Analysis; Cameron Ponce, sophomore from Elkhart, Indiana, in Prose Interpretation, Program of Oral Interpretation and Dramatic Interpretation; Shaelyn Atwood, freshman from Sabetha, in Communication Analysis; Unruh in Extemporaneous Speaking as well as Impromptu Speaking; and Gonzalez in prose interpretation.

This will be the first appearance at AFA-NIET for Atwood, Gonzalez and Ponce, a transfer student in his first year at Bethel.

“Qualification to the AFA national tournament is an incredibly intense process,” said Mallory Marsh, Bethel director of forensics and head coach, “and it is estimated that only the top 10 percent of competitors in the nation qualify to this tournament over the course of the season.

“These students are excited to represent Bethel College at AFA-NIET for the 38th year in a row.”

The forensics team will give their AFA-NIET preview March 30 in convocation, 11 a.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center. The public is invited.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2014-15 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 2014-15. 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.