WT Forensics Team Qualifies for Nationals


CANYON, Texas—All four team members of the West Texas A&M University Forensics Team have individually qualified for the American Forensic Association National Speech Tournament in April.

Two students—Alejandro Mata and Isaac Doty—qualified after earning points at several tournaments between September and March. An additional two students—Abigail Stilwell and Hannah Kamer—qualified after earning Top 3 placements at the district tournament at WT on March 4.

The national tournament will take place April 1-3 in Santa Ana, Calif.

Mata, a senior political science major from Hereford, qualified to compete at the national level in four events: extemporaneous, impromptu, prose, and communication analysis.

Doty, a junior sociology major from Lubbock, also qualified to compete in four events: extemporaneous, informative, persuasion, and communication analysis.

Stilwell, a junior psychology major from Wichita Falls, qualified to compete in after-dinner speaking.

Kamer, a sophomore psychology major from Sweetwater, qualified to compete in prose.

“I think it proves that in an activity where divisions don’t matter, even at smaller schools like WT, individuals can compete with the biggest schools out there and on their level,” said Dr. Kelsey Abele, assistant professor of communication studies and forensics team coach. “They deserve to be acknowledged for the amount of research they do on a weekly basis and how much intellectual acuity it takes to be competitive at public speaking—the thing that most folks fear more than death.”

The WT Forensics Team is housed within the Department of Communication in the Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts & Humanities.

Strength in core programs and distinctive competencies is a key mission of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021 — has raised more than $120 million.

Photo: West Texas A&M University forensics team members Abigail Stilwell, from left, Alejandro Mata, Hannah Kamer and Isaac Doty recently qualified to compete at the American Forensic Association National Speech Tournament in April.