Contact: Allison Benner, College Relations Associate - Media, 610-740-3790


Allentown, PA (December 9, 2004) - The Cedar Crest College forensics speech team took fourth place overall out of the fifteen colleges that competed at the Bridgewater College/Lord Fairfax Community College "Study Break" Invitational Forensics Tournament held on December 3rd and 4th, 2004 in Middletown, VA, with individual team members placing as high as first in some categories.

"This is a very exciting award for our team," says Linda Baas, director of the forensics team and assistant professor of speech at Cedar Crest College. "It is extremely encouraging for the team to have placed fourth out of fifteen total colleges competing. Not to mention the high level and number of individual awards that team members received."

The seven women who make up the Cedar Crest team are following in the footsteps of great political figures and internationally renowned celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt who were also forensicators. "This type of forensics is often forgotten and overshadowed by forensic science, especially in the wake of the many television crime dramas that focus on it to solve a case," says Baas. "But speech forensics is a subject that dates back to the ancient times with Aristotle describing it as one of three forms of speaking. We like to think of it as the art of speech itself - of how literature is communicated through the voice for debate, persuasive speaking, public address events, etc."

This was the first year that the Cedar Crest team took part in this particular competition, which is one of the most important regional tournaments of the fall semester. Colleges from Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia also attended the tournament competing in categories that included poetry, humorous interpretation, children's storytelling and dramatic duo.

Baas credits the hard work and talent of the team members and coaches for bringing not only awards but also recognition from competing schools on the circuit to a team that has only been in existence for two and a half years. "The students read and read and read to find their material," continues Baas. "They practice together in groups and also with faculty coaches for hours leading up to a competition."

Along with supporting and coaching her team, Baas was also selected to judge a number of the events. "At every tournament I judge at least five to eight rounds, but never my own students. Judges time and write a critique of each student in the round. It is very hectic but very rewarding!" says Baas.

Sophomore psychology major, Allison Kazaras took home a first place award in the humorous interpretation category for her reading of a comedic and politically correct retelling of "The Princess and the Pea" by James Finn Garner. "This tournament was a great experience, especially to be remembered by the tournament director as 'the one who made us all laugh'," says Kazaras, a native of Westminster, MD. "I'm very excited to take the judges' suggestions and incorporate them into new pieces for next semester." Kazaras got involved in forensics during high school through friends who thought her personality and "the amount of talking [she] did" made her a perfect addition to the forensics team.

Individual awards were presented to the following Cedar Crest students:

· Karen Babson '05 (Team Captain) - 3rd place, Children's Storytelling; 4th place, Poetry
· Beth Anne Ciccolella '06 - 5th place, Dramatic Duos; 6th place, Poetry
· Joanna Craig '07 - Judges Award; 6th place, Children's Storytelling; 6th place, Dramatic Duo; 4th place, Prose; 5th place, Poetry
· Alison Kazaras '07 - 1st place, Humorous Interpretation; 4th place, Children's Storytelling; 5th place, Dramatic Duo; 6th place, Dramatic Duo

The team received a plaque in recognition of their fourth place overall win and hope to continue to showcase their talents in this "sport of the mind" at future forensics tournaments. Of their experience Baas concludes, "It's great to be on the road, to meet coaches and dedicated students. In the past two and a half years, we've made some great memories. These young women are the leaders of tomorrow!"

For more information, please contact the College Relations Office at 610-740-3790.


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