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Speech team places first at national competition

Bradley’s speech team recently took first place at the national American Forensic Association Tournament.
After travelling to the tournament in Eau Claire, Wis., this win gave the team a collective total of 20 AFA national titles.
Though winning nationals was a huge accomplishment for the speech team, coach Dan Smith said he didn’t expect anything less out of his students.
“We won just about every important tournament throughout the year that we competed at, which instilled some confidence,” Smith said. “All in all, we knew we had the team to win this year. It was just a matter of making sure that we did.”
The Speech Team has been practicing weekly since summer.
“We have also had at least two weekends where we did not travel, but invited alumni in to coach and motivate, which has been invaluable,” Smith said. “They have even been coaching via Skype and YouTube.”
Three specific Bradley students shone at the competition.
Senior Amanda Voirol placed first in the overall sweepstakes competition, awarded to the individual who obtains the most points after at least four events. 
Voirol competed in a total of six events: Prose Interpretation, Poetry Interpretation, Program Oral Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation, Duo Interpretation and Impromptu. She also placed first in Dramatic Interpretation and Duo Interpretation.
“I have tried to touch people through this activity – to make a tangible difference in their lives,” Voirol said. “And winning told me not only that I had done so, but that there is no better reason to do this activity.”
Senior Jared Boyer partnered with Voirol for Duo Interpretation and also placed second in the individual sweepstakes competition.
“I was happy with sweeps because it meant I scored points for the team – and that was our goal – win as a team,” Boyer said. “That is what it is all about – the team. It could have been any of us honestly.”
Senior Patrick Campbell placed third in the individual competition.
“My initial reaction was of sheer joy,” he said. “I knew that the top two overall speakers were two of my teammates. No team in history has ever earned the top three spots in individual sweepstakes.”
Freshman Cecil Blutcher, freshman, placed 11th overall.
Blutcher said going in she set an expectation for herself to place in nationals and for Bradley to come out on top. Both were accomplished this past weekend.
This weekend the team will compete in the second part of nationals, the National Forensic Association (NFA) Championship Tournament at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.