Splendid Speakers

April 6, 2017

Bradley University hosted the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament the first weekend in April and finished fourth as a team. More than 1,000 participants from 76 schools from across the country competed for national honors.

In one of the most closely contested national tournaments in years, Bradley University’s speech team continued its ranking among the nation’s top teams.  The University of Texas at Austin ultimately won, with Western Kentucky University, George Mason University and Bradley University respectively within 75 points of the winners.

“The tournament shaped up that four teams were in it until the end, which was incredibly exciting and stressful,” said Director of Forensics Ken Young. “I am thrilled to see so much success from our students that we will have for many years to come. The future is certainly bright.”

Bradley brought home two national championships in 11 different speaking events offered at the tournament. Public relations major Sarah Brashear ’18, of Omaha, Nebraska, won After Dinner Speaking, while public relations major Jerome Gregory ’17, of St. Louis, won Persuasive Speaking.  These two titles are Bradley’s 157th and 158th individual national championships.

The tournament also recognizes the top 20 overall speakers in the nation. Four Bradley students earned that distinction: Gregory (4th), Brashear (8th), organizational communication and Spanish double major Annie Schuver ‘18, of Chesterfield, Missouri (12th), and organizational communication major Abby Surprenant ’17, of Marshall, Minnesota (13th).

President Gary Roberts ‘70, a speech team alumnus, said it was a great honor to host the tournament.  

"Bradley has a rich history of speech and debate and is one of the winningest teams in the nation.  It was our honor to host these talented students from around the country,” said President Gary Roberts ‘70, who was a speech team member.

The Bradley team will head to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for the National Forensic Association National Championship April 12-17.

Here are Bradley's top finalists from the 2017 American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament:

After Dinner Speaking
National Champion — Sarah Brashear

Communication Analysis
National Runner-Up — Annie Schuver
3rd Place — Kylie Caligiuri ‘17

Extemporaneous Speaking
5th Place — Jerome Gregory

Impromptu Speaking
3rd Place — Jerome Gregory

Informative Speaking
3rd Place — Sarah Brashear

Persuasive Speaking
National Champion — Jerome Gregory