CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University's forensics team kept its winning streak alive at Pacific University recently, with students winning best overall speaker and another receiving first place in open debate.

The Scheller Forensics Invitational featured more than 20 schools from around the greater Northwest, including the College of Southern Idaho, Whitman College, and St. Mary's College of California.

"These wins come at a crucial time for the team," said Mark Porrovecchio, director of the OSU team.  "We are gearing up for the national championship tournaments in March and April."

The team's most impressive results were in debate. New team member Kyle Bidwell (Sumner) took first place in International Public Debate Association open debate and received the third best overall speaker award. Senior David Kubota, of Forest Grove, was a finalist in open debate and recognized as the best overall speaker. Junior Loni Sturm and senior Andrew Leder, both of Albany, were quarterfinalists in open debate. Sturm was also recognized as the sixth best overall speaker, while Leder placed fifth overall.

The wins were rounded out with a pair of individual event awards. Bidwell was a semifinalist in open impromptu speaking and Kubota took third place in open after-dinner speaking.

The travel team was rounded out by Forest Ledbetter of Sheridan, Morgan Mansker of Sisters, Nate Tardiff of Scappoose, Mayuko Miyamoto of Tokyo, Dalicia Fennell of Sutherlin, Antonio DiMicco of Hillsboro, and graduate coaching assistant Dan Torres of Reno, Nev.

"People often focus on the win-loss record in competitive forensics," assistant coach Torres said. "But the team building aspects of forensics - helping each other to prepare, reaching out to students at other schools - are just as important."

The team has two regular season tournaments remaining this school year. The team will also host the District II American Forensics Association Regional Qualifier on the OSU campus on Saturday, March 6. They will then travel to the Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament hosted by Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota in March. The season will end with a select group of students competing at a national tournament in April.

"These students put an incredible amount of effort into being part of the forensics team," Porrovecchio said. "These students give up significant portions of their schedule to compete at and travel to tournaments. And they do this while maintaining incredible grades in a variety of majors across campus."

Celebrating its 117th season, OSU Forensics is one of the oldest clubs on campus. The team is open to all students in good academic standing.

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Mark Porrovecchio, 541-737-8230