Bradley to host annual speech competition

November 1, 2016

Bradley University’s speech team will host the L.E. Norton Memorial Tournament November 5-6. Named for one of the team’s first coaches, the tournament has become one of the most anticipated events of the speech season.

Last year, there were approximately 500 competitors. This year, because Bradley University is hosting AFA Nationals in April 2017, the tournament is expected to draw between 600 and 700 participants.

Considered the “Fall Nationals” by many participants, the release of the annual theme of the tournament, and the tournament itself, is a much-awaited event.

Speech team members volunteer to run the tournament, sacrificing a weekend of competition to work the tournament.

Ken Young, director of forensics, considers this a service to the community.

“When you’re hosting a tournament, you’re doing a service for the community and we try to have a level of excellence that we hold our students to competitively, when we’re competing,” he said.When we’re providing that service, we want to make sure that level of excellence is being held to our standards.”

Though the host team doesn’t participate in the event, team members value the opportunity to work behind the scenes.

“Because we don’t get to compete in it, we get to see a lot of the things that are going on and watch everything unfold,” said Sarah Brashear ’18.