Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

WT Forensics Team Competes in Hill Country Swing

Forensics team members Isaac Doty, from left, Willa Brackin, Abigail Stilwell, Alejandro Mata and Ellie Lollar-Scott earned high honors at the recent Hill Country Swing speech tournament in San Marcos.

CANYON, Texas—The West Texas A&M University forensics team took home several awards as part of the Hill Country Swing, two days of tournaments held in San Marcos.

The team tied for third overall in team sweepstakes in the first tournament, held Sept. 23 at Texas State University.

Isaac Doty, a senior sociology major from Lubbock, placed third in communication analysis. Alejandro Mata, a senior political science major from Hereford, placed third in persuasion with a speech based off his McNair Scholar research on code switching in forensics, and Abigail Stilwell, a senior psychology major from Henrietta, placed fifth in persuasion. Willa Brackin, a freshman digital communication and media major from Thicket, placed fifth in program oral interpretation.

The team took second place overall in the second tournament, held Sept. 24 at Texas State and hosted by the University of Texas.

Doty won communication analysis in the UT tournament and placed fifth in extemporaneous speaking, in which Mata reached the finals. Doty also earned fifth place in informative speaking. Stilwell and Mata placed first and second in persuasion. Brackin took sixth in program oral interpretation, and Stilwell and Mata placed third and fourth, respectively, in prose. Ellie Lollar-Scott, a freshman theatre performance major from Amarillo, also competed both days in informative speaking and prose.

“The team is off to a great start this season,” said Dr. Kelsey Abele, director of the forensics team and assistant professor of communication studies. “The first tournament is always an adventure because we’re so early in the process of learning what makes a speech tick and looking forward to revisions for the next trip.”

The team—housed in the Department of Communication in the Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities—will help host two major events on campus this fall: a special forensics-team-focused reunion during WT’s Homecoming on Oct. 14 and the annual Guy P. Yates high school tournament from Oct. 20 to 21.

The WT Forensics Team offers opportunities for students to exhibit outstanding abilities and accomplishments, one of the key principles of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic One West comprehensive fundraising campaign, which reached its initial $125 million goal 18 months after publicly launching in September 2021. The campaign’s new goal is to reach $175 million by 2025; currently, it has raised more than $150 million.

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