Forensic Falcons Continue National Success

April 20, 2018

--Speech Team Wins 2nd in the Nation at Phi Rho Pi in Daytona--

The Southeastern Illinois College Forensic Falcons represented southern Illinois well this month at the national community college speech tournament, Phi Rho Pi, in Daytona Beach, Florida, earning a gold medal in individual events and a silver medal overall for their division.

Every member of the SIC speech team advanced at least one event to a semifinal round at the national tournament, which is not common for any team.

“This team realized their potential at exactly the right time. They proved to be small, but mighty,” said Dr. Tyler Billman, coach.

Freshman and national gold medalist Donovyn Valdez was excited to have a chance to compete nationally in Daytona.  

“Even though we’re a small college, we get to compete with the big dogs in California and other places, and we do really well,” said Valdez.  “It was unexpected and thrilling to see us do so well.”

The 2018 national tournament marks the end of the Falcons’ 2017-18 season. SIC’s Forensic Falcons have a long history of success, placing first in overall national competition in 1986, 1997, and 2005. The team is coached by Paul Cummins, Jenny Billman and Dr. Tyler Billman.

“Our coaches are very skilled in what they do, very experienced and really know what they’re doing, and they really push us harder than anyone I’ve ever met,” Valdez explained with a chuckle.  “They help us to grow not just as performers, but as people.”

That tenacity Valdez spoke of earned Director of Forensics Paul Cummins a prestigious award this year at Phi Rho Pi. Cummins won a service award at the Phi Rho Pi National Tournament, recognizing his decades of service to forensics and to the Phi Rho Pi National Tournament. Since 2009, Cummins has been one of the key coaches in the country to help run the tournament for hundreds of students.

SIC individual results from the national Phi Rho Pi tournament are as follows:

  • Kaydee Dycus, Mt. Vernon -- Silver in Dramatic Interp, Bronze in Communication Analysis, Bronze in Prose, Warren-Dahlin Fellowship Award
  • Cheriaca Huntley, Carrier Mills -- Silver in Speech to Entertain, Bronze in Dramatic Interpretation, Bronze in Poetry
  • Donovyn Valdez, Carrier Mills -- Gold in Prose Interpretation, Bronze in Communication Analysis
  • Angelica Harrelson, Eldorado -- Silver in Communication Analysis, Bronze in Prose
  • Chanse Tullis, Springerton -- Gold in Prose
  • Braden Cummins, Carrier Mills -- Silver in Program Oral Interpretation
  • Jordan Fricks, Eldorado -- Bronze in Informative Speaking