Winningest Speech Team in Country Hosts National Tournament

Bradley played host the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament and placed 4th.
April 4, 2017

Bradley played host the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament this past weekend. More than 1,000 participants from 76 schools from coast to coast converged on campus to battle it out for this prestigious championship.

In what was one of the most closely contested national tournaments in years, Bradley University’s Speech Team continued its ranking as one of the top four programs in the nation. The University of Texas at Austin ultimately came out on top over Western Kentucky University, George Mason University, and Bradley University respectively, with all four programs placing in the 400-point range.

“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. He continued, “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.”

Eleven different speaking events are offered at the tournament and Bradley brought home two national championships. Sarah Brashear (Junior Public Relations Major from Omaha, NE) won After Dinner Speaking, while Jerome Gregory (Senior Public Relations Major from St. Louis, MO) won Persuasive Speaking. These two titles represent Bradley’s 157th and 158th individual national championships.

The tournament also recognizes the top 20 overall speakers in the nation. Of the over 500 students competing, Bradley had four students in the top 20: Jerome Gregory (4th), Sarah Brashear (8th), Annie Schuver (12th), and Abby Surprenant (13th).

President Gary Roberts, a speech team alumnus from the 1960's, 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." Provost Walter Zakahi is also an alumnus of the team. They welcomed the teams with this video.

The Bradley team will soon head off to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for the National Forensic Association National Championship (4/12-17).

Full results from the 2017 American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament:

After Dinner Speaking

National Champion-Sarah Brashear (Jr.)

Semifinalist (Top 12)- Kylie Caligiuri (Sr.), Natasha Prosek (Jr.)

Quarterfinalist (Top 24)- Jerome Gregory (Sr.), Abby Hanneman (Sr.)

Communication Analysis

National Runner-Up-Annie Schuver (Jr.)

3rd Place-Kylie Caligiuri (Sr.)

Semifinalist (Top 12)- Abby Hanneman (Sr.)

Dramatic Interpretation

Quarterfinalist (Top 24)- Megan Magee (So.), Natasha Prosek (Jr.)

Duo Interpretation

Semifinalist (Top 12)- Megan Magee (So.)/Sarah Brashear (Jr.), Jessica Hernandez (Jr.)/Melissa Hernandez (Jr.)

Extemporaneous Speaking

5th Place-Jerome Gregory (Sr.)

Quarterfinalist (Top 24)- Abby Surprenant (Sr.)

Impromptu Speaking

3rd Place- Jerome Gregory (Sr.)

Semifinalist (Top 12)- Annie Schuver (Jr.)

Quarterfinalist (Top 24)- Abby Surprenant (Sr.)

Informative Speaking

3rd Place-Sarah Brashear (Jr.)

Semifinalist (Top 12)- Abby Surprenant (Sr.)

Quarterfinalist (Top 24)- Abby Hanneman (Sr.)

Persuasive Speaking

National Champion-Jerome Gregory (Sr.)

Semifinalist (Top 12)- Melissa Fuentes (Fr.), Jack Ellis (So.), Abby Surprenant (Sr.)

Quarterfinalist (Top 24)- Annie Schuver (Jr.), Sophie Honeyman (Jr.)

Poetry Interpretation

Semifinalist (Top 12)- Dakotah Asbury (Sr.)

Quarterfinalist (Top 24)- Trijae Johnson (Fr.), Cassie Edlund (Fr.)

Program Oral Interpretation

Quarterfinalist (Top 24)- Megan Magee (So.)

Prose Interpretation

Quarterfinalist (Top 24)- Kyle Powers (So.), Megan Magee (So.)