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Bethel’s forensics nationals team is complete

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – At a tournament in Texas over the weekend, four Bethel College students qualified for the American Forensic Association-National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET).

West Texas A&M University hosted 14 schools, including Bethel, in the AFA-NIET District III Qualifying Tournament March 4-5 on the Canyon, Texas, campus.

Joe Fitch, sophomore from Independence, Mo., was second in Dramatic Interpretation; sophomores Chris Riesen, Beatrice, Neb., and Aaron Rudeen, Osage City, finished second in Duo Interpretation; and Hank Unruh, freshman from Newton, took fourth in Extemporaneous Speaking.

These finishes were good enough to put them into nationals competition, April 1-4 at the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

Fitch had already qualified with Taylor Ambrosi, freshman from Independence, Mo., in Duo Interpretation. As a transfer student, he will be competing for the Threshers at nationals for the first time, as will Ambrosi, Unruh and freshmen C.J. Fischer, Newton, and Marike Stucky, Moundridge. Riesen also makes his first trip to nationals.

Freshman Matt Frey, Moundridge, took seventh in Extemporaneous Speaking, and sophomore Julia Miller, Hesston, was sixth in Programmed Oral Interpretation. They are now both second alternates to the national tournament in those events. Miller also finished sixth in Poetry Interpretation.

Bethel now has 12 students qualified for 17 slots (nine different events).

The Threshers’ slate for AFA-NIET is as follows: Taylor Ambrosi and Joe Fitch, Duo Interpretation; C.J. Fischer, Extemporaneous Speaking; Joe Fitch, Dramatic Interpretation; Julia Huxman, junior from Wichita, Informative Speaking and Persuasive Speaking; Audra Miller, sophomore from Hesston, After Dinner Speaking; Chris Riesen and Aaron Rudeen, Duo Interpretation; Alex Stucky, senior from Moundridge, Extemporaneous Speaking and Impromptu Speaking; Marike Stucky, Dramatic Interpretation, Poetry Interpretation and Programmed Oral Interpretation; Natalie Stucky, sophomore from Moundridge, Informative Speaking and Persuasive Speaking; Brandon Schwager, junior from Lawrence, Extemporaneous Speaking and Impromptu Speaking; and Hank Unruh, Extemporaneous Speaking.

The squad will give a preview of some of the events for nationals Monday, March 28, during the annual Forensics Road Show convocation at 11 a.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in the Fine Arts Center (free and open to the public).

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2010-11 analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States and is in the first tier in its category in the U.S. News & World Report annual ranking of “America’s Top Colleges” for 2011. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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