Eastern Michigan University Forensics team honors tradition of excellence, securing fourth at American Forensics Association National Speech Tournament

The EMU Forensics team outside at the national tournament

YPSILANTI — Continuing its legacy of excellence, the Eastern Michigan University Forensics team achieved an impressive fourth-place finish at the American Forensics Association (AFA) National Speech Tournament. This tournament was the first of two national tournaments for the team and the first national tournament under Bill Heinze, director of EMU Forensics. 

Eastern hosted 14 students at the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire to compete in 60 individual events, contributing to over 1000 individual performances among 58 universities.

“AFA was a great test run with the team,” said Heinze. “It involved more stressful travel, faster rounds, and a smaller group of students. It allowed us to see where we were at and correct mistakes ahead of our next national tournament. We would not have been nearly as successful if we didn't have that time to learn how we handle stress together.”

The following students placed in the semi-finals and above in their respective categories:

  • After Dinner Speaking: Gavin Millard (Junior) secured sixth place in the nation. 
  • Communication Analysis (top 12): Cedrick Charles, Kate Inman (Senior)
  • Dramatic Interpretation: Meghan Huelsman (Junior) secured sixth place in the nation. 
  • Duo Interpretation (top 12): Louise Engohang (Junior), Cedrick Charles (Senior)
  • Extemporaneous Speaking (top 12): Kate Inman 
  • Impromptu Speaking: Gavin Millard secured a top-three position and ranked 19th as the overall speaker at the tournament. 
  • Informative Speaking: Louise Engohang secured second place and ranked 16th as the overall speaker at the tournament.
  • Persuasive Speaking: Kate Inman placed fourth, while AbdurRahman Elder (Junior) and Louise Engohang secured spots in the top 12. 
  • Poetry Interpretation (top 12): Cedrick Charles

Meghan Huelsman, a junior on the Forensics team majoring in psychology, dedicated her success to the values instilled by EMU Forensics.. 

”An EMU Forensics competitor maintains the tradition of excellence by being the best we can be for ourselves and those around us,” Huelsman said. “I have been dreaming of a national final since I was 14. At this year’s AFA, I earned one. The experience of my hard work finally proving to pay off left me forever grateful.” 

Looking ahead, Huelsman expects continued success for EMU Forensics as she approaches her final year with the team. “I want to enjoy every moment and wish all the success for my teammates who work hard.”

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 13,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today

June 12, 2024

Written by:
Gavin Millard

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher