Forensics state tournament moves online

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Mary Maccudden

Nasir celebrates a first place finish.

Regardless of the current situation, the Homestead Forensics season was able to continue with a state tournament this year. Unlike many other sports and activities, this public speaking club has the ability to hold an online competition. Forensics is a public speaking club where students have the opportunity to enter into different categories and perform works of literature, speeches, or their own presentations.

A tournament usually takes six hours, where students will perform in three different rounds, with a different judge each time. Groups or individuals who place high enough in each of their rooms will then be able to compete in the power round for their category. Students who place in the power round will be awarded first, second or third for that competition.

Mary Maccudden is the head coach for the team, along with two assistant coaches, Sarah Krueger and Jennifer Walter.

“This year, the tournament was meant to be at a high school in Eau Claire, so a bit of a drive for our team. Our team generally sends 25 competitors to the state tournament, and aside from the competition, the state tournament acts as one of our largest team bonding events of the year,” MacCudden said.

The Homestead Forensics team was planning on attending three additional meets this year, aside from the state tournament. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, they were all cancelled.

“The ramifications of the COVID-19 outbreak and the safety measures put in place by Governor Evers and the WFCA (Wisconsin Forensics Coaches Association) essentially ended the regular season outside of the state tournament, which was far enough in the future for procedures to be put in place to have the tournament conducted in an online format,” Maccudden said.

Instead of rescheduling, the WFCA decided to hold a virtual state competition. Students had to submit a video of them performing their piece by 8pm on Monday, May 10th in order to be judged in this tournament. Over the past week, judges watched the recordings sent in and placements for each student.

Because of this new format, significant changes were made to the usual procedures for the state Forensic meet.

“Placing an entire tournament online changes many factors, and I will admit, some I found convenient. For example, students uploaded videos of performances rather than performing live, which meant that I as a judge could rewind the video and listen to something again, allowing for me to offer more specific feedback,” Macudden said.

Results from the meet were aired on Saturday at 7 p.m., and two Homestead students were able to progress to the next round of the meet. Elizabeth Rater made it to semifinals, and Manaal Nasir won first place in her category.

When Nasir learned that she placed in her category, “I was shocked at first and then really happy. My teammates started congratulating me through text and we all celebrated” Nasir said, “I wished I could have seen all the friends I’ve made throughout the season in person but more than anything I’m really grateful we even got to have State since many clubs couldn’t.”

Macudden expressed an optimistic message for next season, and is hopeful the team can grow and become stronger for the 2021 season.

“I want to encourage people who fear public speaking, want a boost to their college applications, or are just looking for a fun community to become a part of to look into forensics,” Macudden said, “I can’t think of a more welcoming, inclusive group of kids to be a part of. So, if you’re a student and you’re reading this, JOIN FORENSICS!” Macudden said.

The Homestead Forensics team after their first meet at Marquette High School.
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