Moraine Valley Community College Forensics Team members (front row from left) Damian Samsonowicz, Breanna Martin, Stephanie McFann, Kirsten Baity, Haily Carrero, (back row from left) Mason France, Curtis Griffin, Sidney Bullock, Zinnia Lampkins, James Smith, Ken Smith, and J.R. Dusek, took third place in state competition held at Northern Illinois University.

The Moraine Valley Community College Forensics Team earned 3rd place in the Illinois Intercollegiate Forensic Association’s State Speech and Debate tournament at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.

Under the direction of John Nash, director of the Forensics program and communications professor, assistant coaches Amanda Pettigrew and Krista Appelquist along with volunteer coaches Chris Cox and Jeff Rieck, the team took home 17 awards in 13 categories, including a fifth place overall top speaker award earned by team captain Curtis Griffin, of Richton Park.

“I am extremely proud of the hard work and dedication the students put into researching, writing and practicing. We compete against four-year colleges and universities and it’s a huge challenge for a first-year student to compete against a senior, but we do it,” Nash said. “Placing at the state tournament is proof of how truly amazing our college and student body are.”

Awards earned by Moraine Valley students include:

Poetry Interpretation: Griffin, first place; Sidney Bullock, of Calumet Park, fourth place

Program Oral Interpretation: Zinnia Lampkins, second place; Griffin, third place

Prose Interpretation: Haley Carrero, of Orland Park, third place; Lampkins, fifth place

Informative Speaking: Damian Samsonowicz, of Bridgeview, first place

Duo Interpretation: Griffin and Samsonowicz, first place

Speech to Entertain: Bullock, fourth place

Extemporaneous Speaking: Stephanie McFann, of Oak Lawn, fifth place

Communication Analysis: McFann, sixth place

Dramatic Interpretation: Kirsten Baity, of Robbins, sixth place

Novice Communication Analysis: Carrero, second place

Novice Prose Interpretation: James Smith, of Alsip, second place

Novice Poetry: Mason France, of Orland Park, second place

Novice Impromptu: McFann, third place

“We compete as a family and because we do that, winning tournaments and having success is a side effect. After so many years of competing and practicing, I am finally a state champion,” Griffin said. Lampkins echoed his feelings and noted the state tournament is an extremely challenging competition. “I’m so proud of what we accomplished and am truly grateful the opportunities I’ve been given, including being a part of an amazing program with an amazing group of people,” she said.

The team will travel to Virginia in April to compete in the Phi Rho Pi National Speech and Debate tournament.