CORVALLIS, Ore. - While some students were enjoying a vacation from tests and classes during spring break, Oregon State University's forensics team spent the break competing in two national tournaments, which resulted in a first place win for junior Kyle Bidwell, and honors for other members of the team.

OSU's forensics team attended the Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament in Bloomington, Minn., and the American Forensics Association National Individual Tournament in Eau Claire, Wis.

The National Comprehensive Tournament featured more than 50 schools from across the country, including the University of Miami, Ohio, Wiley College, Marshall, Tex., and Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia. 

Bidwell, of Sumner, Wash., took first place in the International Public Debate Associate (IPDA) debate and was ranked as the seventh best speaker for the entire tournament. Junior Dalicia Fennell of Sutherlin was awarded fifth best speaker, and seniors David Kubota of Forest Grove and Forest Ledbetter of Sheridan both received excellent rankings in debate for placing in the top 30 percent. In impromptu speaking, Kubota was a semifinalist, while Bidwell and Forest Ledbetter of Sheridan received excellent rankings.

"It is difficult for outsiders to understand just how amazing these results are for our team," said Mark Porrovecchio, director of the team.  "We went up against big schools with very large teams, and we did very well. Our students compete because they love it and their dedication shows in the results."

The travel team also included senior Morgan Mansker of Sisters, junior Loni Sturm of Albany, junior Mayuko Miyamoto of Tokyo, and graduate coaching assistant Dan Torres of Reno, Nev.

The American Forensics Association National Individual Tournament featured more than 70 schools, including Colorado College, Colorado Springs, the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, and Arizona State University. OSU's forensics team chose Mansker and Ledbetter to represent them in impromptu speaking, after-dinner speaking, and prose interpretation.

"Mansker and Ledbetter embody the educational spirit of forensics; they want to give back to the team by becoming graduate coaching assistants next year," said Torres, who is graduating this year. "They represent why this team is valued by OSU and respected by other schools in the Northwest."

Though the season is over, the team isn't done. Team members are planning to host several events this term, including the Corvallis/Albany Oregon School Activities Association high school speech and debate district qualifier. And they are already working to recruit a new slate of OSU forensics competitors.

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Mark Porrovechio, 541-737-8230