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Forensics offers national tournament preview

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The Bethel College forensics team presents its second annual National Tournament Preview.

The event will be held Monday, March 28, at 7 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in the Fine Arts Center. It is free and open to the public, with a special invitation going out to high school forensics competitors and coaches.

The evening will feature performances by several members of the team who have qualified for the American Forensic Association-National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET), which will be held at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, April 2-4.

“Continuing a tradition of excellence in intercollegiate forensics, we are pleased to have qualified 12 students in a total of 17 slots for the national tournament,” said John McCabe-Juhnke, professor of communication arts and head forensics coach. “Bethel is one of only six colleges and universities in the nation to have qualified competitors for AFA-NIET every year since the first one in 1977.”

On the program for March 28 are Taylor Ambrosi, freshman from Independence, Mo., C.J. Fischer, freshman from Newton, Joe Fitch, sophomore from Independence, Mo., Julia Huxman, junior from Wichita, Audra Miller, sophomore from Hesston, Brandon Schwager, junior from Lawrence, Marike Stucky, freshman from Moundridge, and Natalie Stucky, sophomore from Moundridge.

“We’re looking forward to this opportunity to share our performances outside the typical venue, which is speaking in front of a judge and a handful of other competitors in college classrooms across the region,” McCabe-Juhnke said. “The National Tournament Preview will allow friends, family and the broader community to see the excellent performances that earned these students berths to the most prestigious national forensics tournament in the nation.”

The Threshers’ complete slate for AFA-NIET is: Taylor Ambrosi and Joe Fitch, Duo Interpretation; C.J. Fischer, Extemporaneous Speaking; Joe Fitch, Dramatic Interpretation; Julia Huxman, Informative Speaking and Persuasive Speaking; Audra Miller, After Dinner Speaking; Chris Riesen and Aaron Rudeen, sophomores from Beatrice, Neb., and Osage City, respectively, Duo Interpretation; Alex Stucky, senior from Moundridge, Extemporaneous Speaking and Impromptu Speaking; Marike Stucky, Dramatic Interpretation, Poetry Interpretation and Programmed Oral Interpretation; Natalie Stucky, Informative Speaking and Persuasive Speaking; Brandon Schwager, Extemporaneous Speaking and Impromptu Speaking; and Hank Unruh, freshman from Newton, Extemporaneous Speaking.

In extending the special invitation to high school forensics students and coaches, McCabe-Juhnke noted, “Half of Bethel’s nationally qualified students for 2011 competed in national tournaments as high school students. We see the National Tournament Preview as one way to give back to the high school forensics community.

“We hope coaches and students will benefit from the opportunity to watch college style performance and events,” he added, “and for students interested in competing in college, this offers a chance to interact with Bethel College competitors and coaches and learn more about the college forensics experience.”

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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