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3/17/2006 Linfield students speak out in Salem

McMINNVILLE - Four Linfield College forensics students will compete in the American Forensic Association National Forensic Tournament at the University of Florida on April 1-3.

The students, senior Matt Hodges of Lake Oswego, freshman Meg Appledoorn of Woodburn, freshman Morgan St. Jean of Portland and sophomore Chipo Dendere of Zimbabwe, earned national invitations at the AFA National Individual Event Tournament Qualifier in Salem on Feb. 26.

Linfield was one of 10 colleges and universities from Oregon, Montana and California represented at the tournament. The competition featured two preliminary rounds and a final round of 11 individual events, including prepared speaking, limited preparation speeches and oral interpretation of literature.

The tournament offered a final chance for students in the Northwest to qualify for the AFA National Forensic Tournament. To advance to nationals at this tournament, students had to place in the top three in their event, though the top six finalists in each event were recognized.

St. Jean, Hodges and Appledoorn all qualified in open communication analysis. Hodges also reached the finals in open extemporaneous speaking, and Appledoorn also qualified in open informative speaking. Dendere qualified with her open poetry and open program oral interpretation. Other Linfield competitors included freshman Janelle Davis of Boring, senior Heather Williams of Redding, Calif., and senior Rob Gaffney of Lincoln City.

"The national qualifier is always a highly competitive tournament and I’m pleased so many of our students qualified," said Jackson Miller, director of forensics and assistant professor of communication arts at Linfield.

"I’m looking forward to advancing my speech skills, seeing the competition and hanging out with the team," said St. Jean.

Miller noted that Linfield’s entry is heavy on prepared speeches, which are often easier to advance in because a competitor’s success in those events is less contingent upon his or her having a national reputation, which is hard for Northwest competitors to gain. In addition, he said he is excited for the competitors to learn from the tournament and return to the team next year as more experienced speakers.

"We have almost all freshmen and sophomores going," said Miller, "so this is their first opportunity to see national competition and get an understanding of what it’s like."

In addition, four Linfield students will also attend the National Parliamentary Debate Association National Tournament at Oregon State University on March 24-26. The teams of Hodges and Gaffney and St. Jean and Davis will compete in the event, in which competitors have 20 minutes to form cases about topics related to current events.

For more information on the Linfield forensics team, contact Miller at 503-883-2625.