Forensics team finishes 9th in nation, two members named All-Americans

For the third year in a row, the Hastings College Forensics team finished in the top 10 in the nation at the American Forensics Association National Speech Tournament (AFA-NST), held virtually in early April. The team placed 9th this year as well as in 2019, and finished 8th in 2018; there was no national tournament in 2020. This is the first time the team has placed in the top 10 three years in a row.

Sam Burke w 1
Samantha Burke
Courtney Hanson w 1
Courtney Hanson

Two members of the team, Courtney Hanson, a senior from Brookings, South Dakota, and Samantha Burke, a senior from Denver, Colorado, were recognized as All-Americans.

This gives Hastings College a total of 19 All-Americans through its rich history, the most of any college or university in the country. Each year, only 15 students from across the country are named All-Americans. The award is given to students who exemplify academic excellence, community service and competitive success.

The team set another school record by breaking two Duo Interpretations to out-rounds for the first time ever. Senior Isaabella Robbins from Worland, Wyoming, and junior Brendan Kachnowski from Rock Springs, Wyoming, broke their Duo to semi-finals and senior Hanson and sophomore Nikki DeSeriere from Westminster, Colorado, broke their Duo to quarter-finals.

During the national tournament, the team saw several students break into out rounds. They include:

  • Nikki DeSeriere, a sophomore from Westminster, Colorado, broke into quarter-finals with Duo Interpretation with senior Courtney Hanson and into semifinals with Prose Interpretation.
  • Kiante Stuart, a sophomore from Nassau, The Bahamas, broke into quarter-finals with Persuasive Speaking.
  • Brendan Kachnowski, a junior from Rock Springs, Wyoming, broke into semifinals with Duo Interpretation with senior Isaabella Robbins.
  • Courtney Hanson, a senior from Brookings, South Dakota, broke into quarter-finals with After Dinner Speaking and Duo Interpretation with sophomore Nikki DeSeriere, and semifinals with Prose Interpretation.
  • Isaabella Robbins, a senior from Worland, Wyoming, broke into semifinals with Program Oral Interpretation and Duo Interpretation with junior Brendan Kachnowski.
Fornsics Team 2021
The 2020-21 Hastings College Forensics team.

The team brought a total of 41 events to the AFA-NST. All students and events are listed below.

  • Ally Banks, a first-year student from Shawnee, Kansas, brought After Dinner Speaking and Poetry Interpretation.
  • Victoria Caplinger, a first-year student from Effingham, Kansas, brought Extemporaneous Speaking, Impromptu Speaking and Program Oral Interpretation.
  • Jeremiah Cox, a first-year student from Chaska, Minnesota, brought Extemporaneous Speaking and Persuasive Speaking.
  • Mae Heater, a first-year student from Bennington, Nebraska, brought After Dinner Speaking and Poetry Interpretation.
  • Jacob Stulken, a first-year student from Doniphan, Nebraska, brought Duo Interpretation with junior Chloe Carson and After Dinner Speaking.
  • Nikki DeSeriere, a sophomore from Westminster, Colorado, brought Duo Interpretation with senior Courtney Hanson, Duo Interpretation with junior Brendan Kachnowski, Prose Interpretation and Dramatic Interpretation.
  • Kiante Stuart, a sophomore from Nassau, The Bahamas, brought Duo Interpretation with junior Chloe Carson and Persuasive Speaking.
  • Chloe Carson, a junior from Eagan, Minnesota, brought Duo Interpretation with sophomore Kiante Stuart, Duo Interpretation with first-year student Jacob Stulken, Prose Interpretation, Impromptu Speaking and Dramatic Interpretation.
  • Sam Johnson, a junior from Hastings, Nebraska, brought Informative Speaking, Extemporaneous Speaking, Impromptu Speaking and After Dinner Speaking.
  • Brendan Kachnowski, a junior from Rock Springs, Wyoming, brought Duo Interpretation with senior Isaabella Robbins, Duo Interpretation with sophomore Nikki DeSeriere, Program Oral Interpretation, Persuasive Speaking, Poetry Interpretation and Dramatic Interpretation.
  • Samantha Burke, a senior from Denver, Colorado, brought Informative Speaking, Extemporaneous Speaking, Program Oral Interpretation, Prose Interpretation and Poetry Interpretation.
  • Courtney Hanson, a senior from Brookings, South Dakota, brought Duo Interpretation with sophomore Nikki DeSeriere, Prose Interpretation, Program Oral Interpretation, After Dinner Speaking and Communication Analysis.
  • Isaabella Robbins, a senior from Worland, Wyoming, brought Duo Interpretation with junior Brendan Kachnowski, Informative Speaking, Program Oral Interpretation and Poetry Interpretation.

Hastings College is a four-year residential college that focuses on student academic and extracurricular achievement. Hastings’ student-centered initiatives include providing books, an iPad and a two-week study away experience at no additional cost. A block-style semester schedule allows professors and students to focus on fewer classes at a time and promotes hands-on experiences. Discover more at hastings.edu.

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