‘Two in ’12’

From left to right: Juniors Cecil Blutcher and Jacoby Cochran pose with team president and senior Camille Yameen and their trophies.

By Frank Radosevich II
April 25, 2012

The Bradley University Speech Team is on a winning streak.

After taking first place last week at the National Forensic Association tournament in Athens, Ohio, the team has cinched both national speech championships in 2012. The victory tops off a year’s worth of hard work and is the perfect ending to a demanding season.

“It was really emotional because it was my last one,” said Dan Smith, director of forensics, who is stepping down as head coach. He said the win over the weekend gives the team 14 national titles under his tenure, tying Smith with the number of wins racked up by the late George Armstrong, a former coach and assistant professor of communication beloved by alumni.

“To be at the same number with him is just amazing,” Smith said, adding that the students ultimately deserve credit for the titles.

The University beat out rival Western Kentucky University by 19.5 points with a total score of 608.5 points. Two weeks before, the team swept the competition at the national American Forensic Association tournament, placing first in both the overall team and individual categories. This is the first year since 1998 that Bradley has won both AFA and NFA competitions.

The team’s mantra this year was “Two in ’12”, meaning the students sought to win the two major national speech tournaments hosted in 2012. Seeing that goal through was a sweet reward.

“It makes me excited to go back for the next year,” said team member Cecil Blutcher, a junior studying political science. “It’s a lot of work but it’s not hard if you love it.”

Junior Jacoby Cochran won the national championship for an individual speaker, earning him three consecutive national titles. He also won the NFA title in 2011 and the AFA individual title in early April. Cochran, a philosophy major, won first place in rhetorical criticism, as well.

“I don’t want to say it was easy but it was easy to do with the motivation we had this year,” Cochran said, describing the team’s victory as a weight lifted off their shoulders. “This particular team just united in a big way.”

Along with Cochran, two other Bradley students ranked in the individual sweepstakes: Camille Yameen, senior, individual champion in prose; and Blutcher, individual champion in poetry.

Six of the top 20 individual speakers at the tournament were from Bradley: Cochran in first place; Ryan Tinlin, junior, in eighth place; Yameen in 10th place; Rebi Roos, senior, in 11th place; Blake Longfellow, senior, in 13th place; and Blutcher in 14th place.