Forensics Earns Second Place Overall at State Championship


The Truman Forensics Team competed at the Missouri Association of Forensic Activities (MAFA) State Championship tournament earning a second-place overall team finish out of 19 schools and more than 300 entries at the tournament, Feb. 9-10.

In varsity Lincoln-Douglas debate, senior Alicia Stout earned first place and the state champion title. Stout was also the first place and state champion varsity-LD speaker. Senior Elijah Baum placed as a quarterfinalist (top eight).

In varsity TIPDA, a team debate event, Stout and fellow senior Ella Schnake earned first and state champions. Schnake also placed as third speaker and Stout was first and state champion speaker.

Freshmen Payten Luaders and Jesse Fields were semifinalists (top four teams) in novice TIPDA. Luaders also placed as fourth speaker.

In Novice IPDA, freshmen team members Adli Jacobs and Ashton Mullen were octafinalists (top 16). Jacobs also placed as sixth speaker.

Freshman Bryna Norman was top novice and placed second in poetry, in addition to placing fifth in program oral interpretation (POI).

Freshmen Kate Bailey placed sixth in POI while Zoe Walker was top novice and placed sixth in prose.

Sophomore Briggs Maynor placed third in duo with Schnake and second in poetry.

Fellow sophomore Alex Peterson was fourth in communication analysis (CA) and placed first and was the state champion in both impromptu and persuasion. Peterson also placed fourth in the individual pentathlon sweepstakes, earning her spot as one of the top point earners at the tournament. To participate in pentathlon, students had to compete in at least five different speech categories across two genres — interpretation, limited prep and public address. Peterson is currently ranked among the top five speakers in the state of Missouri.

Senior Jillian Humke placed second in both persuasion and duo with Schnake.

Senior Megan Ford placed fourth in both dramatic interpretation (DI) and prose.

In addition to earning first place and being the state champion in pentathlon for the third year in a row, Schnake also earned first place and the state champion title in CA, DI and prose. She also placed second in both impromptu and in duo with Humke and third in duo with Maynor. For earning the highest points across speech and debate combined at the tournament, Schnake also placed first and was the state champion in the overall forensicator category. The overall forensicator award acknowledges students who compete in at least five speech events and one format of debate, and top placements go to students who show a wide breadth of skillsets in both. This is the second year in a row Schnake was the first place top forensicator.

The team also placed first in speech and second in debate.

The debate team will compete virtually in the Grand Prix national’s warm-up tournament hosted by Western Kentucky University, March 16-17. Students will vie against some of the top debaters in the country and the highest-ranking students at this tournament tend to foreshadow their success at the National Forensic Association (NFA) tournament later in spring.

Having earned their spot on the tournament roster through a rigorous leg qualification system throughout the season, speech team members senior Schnake and sophomore Peterson will travel to the American Forensic Association (AFA) national speech tournament at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, April 5-8. For an individual speech to qualify for AFA, the student must receive two final placements that sum to five or less in that event. Schnake and Peterson have each qualified four events for the tournament.

Team members who have qualified for NFA will compete at Central Michigan University April 18-22, concluding the team’s 2023-2024 season.

Anyone interested in joining the team, or any alumnus of the team that would like to help coach/judge, can contact Ben Davis, director of forensics, at
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