FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                            Date: March 18, 2002

Contact: Donna McCracken, 206-6716

UIS Forensics/Speech and Debate Team scores national win

In their first year of competition, the Forensics (Speech and Debate) Team at the University of Illinois at Springfield brought home a Novice National championship title won by Capital Scholars Liz Moran and Chris Wyant. The two-day tournament, held in mid-March at Longview Community College, Lee’s Summit, Missouri, was the capstone event for the team’s season. Wyant and Moran placed first in Dramatic Duo Interpretation, in which two performers interpret an excerpt from a play, film, radio, or television script.

To inaugurate the forensic program at UIS, director Sue Weber, assistant professor of communication, began by seeking out students at all levels and ultimately found a group of eight Capital Scholars -- Nels Dale, Jason Kennedy, Saira Malik, Alisabeth Manzoeillo, Moran, Christopher Roberts, Nanette Turner, and Wyant -- with the time and enthusiasm to be the pioneer squad. Capital Scholars is the new program admitting first- and second-year students to study at UIS.

As members of the UIS forensics team, students have the opportunity to compete in a variety of events grouped into oral interpretation of literature, public speaking, and parliamentary debate. The events are Dramatic Duo Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation, Poetry Interpretation, Prose Interpretation, Program Oral Interpretation, Impromptu Speaking, Extemporaneous Speaking, Informative Speaking, Persuasive Speaking, After-Dinner Speaking, Communication Analysis, and Parliamentary Debate.

While most schools travel to 15 to 30 tournaments and begin the forensics year in September, the UIS team began their season in December and competed at seven tournaments in Illinois. Despite the late start and stiff competition from established programs, Weber found her team to be both ambitious and talented. “When you face Bradley University, the top speech team in the nation, at nearly every tournament, you either practice more or quit trying -- this team is not easily satisfied, they kept at it,” she said.

The hard work paid off in February when the team placed fifth at the Highland College Novice Tournament at which Turner and Moran won second place in parliamentary debate, Kennedy and Wyant were semifinalists in debate, and Wyant and Moran took fifth place in dramatic duo. Manzoeillo, Roberts, Malik, and Dale also contributed to the team’s showing with top rankings in preliminary competition.

Weber is proud of the legacy of the young team. “This team has started its own traditions, created its own identity, and has taken pride in one another’s accomplishments,” she said. “What more could a coach ask for?”  The team will also watch the competition closely at the upcoming American Forensics National Tournament, for they plan to compete there themselves in 2003.

For more information about the UIS Forensic/Speech and Debate program, contact Weber by phone at (217) 206-6087 or by e-mail at