Texas Speech: 2016 AFA National Champions!

The University of Texas Speech Team are the recipients of the 2016 team National Championship for the American Forensic Association.

The 2016 AFA National Individual Events Tournament was hosted April 1-4 at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The University of Texas Speech Team ranked first nationally with a team record 581.5 points, the second highest total in the history of the tournament. Texas Speech was followed by Western Kentucky University (529 points), George Mason University (388 points), Bradley University (253 points), and the University of Nebraska at Omaha (233.5 points) to round out the top five national programs. The remainder of the top ten (in order) included the University of Alabama, Arizona State University, Wiley College, Illinois State University, and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Texas Speech senior Farrah Bara was selected prior to the tournament as UT’s 12th AFA All-American, and soundly defended her overall individual national championship from 2015 while setting a national record with 181 total points in 2016. She also won the national championship in Persuasive Speaking and defended her national title in Communication Analysis, among other accolades.

Senior Kevin King defended his 2015 national championship in Informative Speaking and was the national runner-up in both Communication Analysis and Persuasive Speaking, while placing 4th overall.

Seniors Lizzette Marrero and Alexa Thomas were awarded the national championship in Duo Interpretation, while Sophomore Abigail Onwunali won the national title in Dramatic Interpretation.

Junior Alishan Alibhai (15th) and Senior Xavier Clark (17th) were also recognized in the top 20 overall speakers nationally.

The performance was the single best performance ever by University of Texas students. By winning six of the twelve total individual national championships awarded by the American Forensic Association, Texas Speech students set an all-time national record. Individual accolades are listed below.

 

Individual Awards Detail

Farrah Bara (Lib Arts – Middle Eastern Studies Senior)

  • AFA All-American
  • National Champion, Overall Speaker
  • National Champion, Communication Analysis
  • National Champion, Persuasive Speaking
  • National Runner-Up, Extemporaneous Speaking
  • National Runner-Up, After Dinner Speaking
  • National Runner-up, Impromptu Speaking
  • 3rd place, Informative Speaking

Kevin King (Lib Arts – Government Senior)

  • National Champion, Informative Speaking
  • National Runner-up, Persuasive Speaking
  • National Runner-up, Communication Analysis
  • 5th place, Program Oral Interpretation
  • 4th place, Overall Speaker

Alexa Thomas (Comm – Public Relations Senior)

  • National Champion, Duo Interpretation (with Lizzette Marrero)
  • 3rd place, Prose Interpretation
  • National Quarter-Finalist (top 24), Program Oral Interpretation

Lizzette Marrero (Lib Arts – Government & Global Studies Senior)

  • National Champion, Duo Interpretation (with Alexa Thomas)
  • National Semi-finalist (top 12), After Dinner Speaking
  • National Quarter-Finalist (top 24), Duo Interpretation (with Julio Gonzalez)

Abigail Onwunali (Nat Sciences – Human Development & Family Sciences)

  • National Champion, Dramatic Interpretation
  • National Quarter-finalist (top 24), Poetry Interpretation
  • National Quarter-finalist (top 24), Prose Interpretation
  • National Quarter-finalist (top 24), Duo Interpretation (with Xavier Clark)

Alex Bergeron (Comm – Corp Com Senior)

  • 5th place, Prose Interpretation

Ali Shan Ali Bhai (Lib Arts – Plan II Junior)

  • 4th place, Extemporaneous Speaking
  • 14th place, Overall Speaker
  • National Semi-finalist (top 12), Communication Analysis
  • National Semi-finalist (top 12), Informative Speaking
  • National Quarter-Finalist (top 24), Impromptu Speaking

Xavier Clark (Comm – Political Communication Senior)

  • 4th place, Program Oral Interpretation
  • 17th place, Overall Speaker
  • National Semi-Finalist (top 12), Dramatic Interpretation
  • National Semi-Finalist (top 12), Poetry Interpretation
  • National Quarter-finalist (top 24), Duo Interpretation (with Abigail Onwunali)

Arel Rende (Business Sophomore)

  • 5th place, Extemporaneous Speaking

Cole Hanzlicek (Lib Arts – Government Junior)

  • 5th place, Informative Speaking

Derrek Chung (Lib Arts – Government Junior)

  • National Semi-Finalist (top 12), Persuasive Speaking
  • National Quarter-finalist (top 24), Extemporaneous Speaking

Marianna Garcia (Comm – Political Communication Sophomore)

  • National Semi-Finalist (top 12), Prose Interpretation
  • National Quarter-finalist (top 24), Program Oral Interpertation

Mary Claire Phillips (Lib Arts – Government Freshman)

  • National Quarter-finalists (top 24), Duo Interpretation

Julio Gonzalez (Comm – Public Relations & Lib Arts – Plan II Junior)

  • National Quarter-finalists (top 24), Duo Interpretation with Lizzette Marrero

Terran Duhon (Lib Arts – Rhetoric & Writing Senior)

  • National Semi-Finalist (top 12), Prose Interpretation
  • National Quarter-Finalist (top 24), After Dinner Speaking

Blake Bergeron (Bus – Finance Sophomore)

  • National Quarter-Finalist (top 24), Communication Analysis
  • National Quarter-Finalist (top 24), Persuasive Speaking

Seis Steves (Comm – Advertising & Lib Arts – English Freshman)

  • National Quarter-Finalist (top 24), After Dinner Speaking
  • National Quarter-Finalist (top 24), Duo Interpretation (with Bianca Montgomery)

Bianca Montgomery (Undeclared Freshman)

  • National Quarter-Finalist (top 24), Duo Interpretation (with Seis Steves)

Additional National Championship Team Members not receiving separate individual awards:

Congratulations to the following students who also qualified for the competition, but were not advanced to award rounds: Cimmiaron Alvarez, Jordan Auzenne, Macy Bayern, Govinda Dass, Rachel Evans, Angelo Gaunichaux, Collin Hopkins, Suchinder Kalyan, Alex Meed, Sana Moti, Andrew Rodriguez, Jordan Rojas, Cameron Smith, Steven Villescas

 

Complete results for the national contest are available at: http://www.speechwire.com/afa16.pdf

For more information about the American Forensic Association, see their website at: http://afa-niet.org

For more information about Texas Speech, contact Director Randy Cox, Moody College of Communication, at mrcox@austin.utexas.edu