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They've got the gift of gab
Debate and Forensics Team places second in the nation in Division II

ATHENS, Ohio (April 25, 2007) -- They've talked, and talked, and talked some more. 

And now, the Ohio University Debate and Forensics Team has talked its way into a top ranking at the prestigious National Forensics Association National Tournament, held April 19-23.

Competing at Berry College, in Rome, Ga., the team finished 11th overall and second in its division. 

"I'm really excited about our success this year," John A. Cassese Director of Forensics and team coach Dan West said. "My hope is to turn our forensics team into the most successful team on campus, the most successful team in the state and the most successful team in the country."

The Debate and Forensics Team, which helps students build skills in argumentation, public speaking and research, has attended the national tournament every year. Ohio University is one of five schools to have taken the top prize more than once.

The team's performance this year was quite a leap up from last year's 35th place finish and fourth place within Division IV. The move from Division IV to II is in itself a significant accomplishment.

"This puts us in a good position to break into the top 10 next season," West said. 

Students excelled in individual competitions: Dan Glaser placed third in the nation in informative speaking and fourth in original Shakespeare; Jesse Branner placed seventh in rhetorical criticism; Dani Bernat placed fifth in original Shakespeare. All are first-year students at Ohio University. Bernat will go on to compete at the Interstate Oratory Championship Tournament in Santa Fe, N.M., Thursday.

The team has 11 incoming members committing to next year's group, which nearly doubles the current number of participants.

"Success breeds success, and the forensics program will continue to serve as a dynamic recruiting tool for high school students across the state of Ohio," West said. "I want Ohio University to be the first place that students who did speech and debate in high school consider when they plan to attend college."

Although the team is a division of the Scripps College of Communication's School of Communication Studies, students of all majors are welcome.

The team will sponsor a performance fundraiser at 7 p.m. May 1 and 2 in Morton 201. Those in attendance will watch the nationally qualified speeches given by team members. Admission is $5.

For more information on the team, contact Dan West at 593-9962 or westd1@ohio.edu.

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Written by: Natalia Lavric 

Media Contact: Dan West, 740-593-9962 or westd1@ohio.edu

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