Forensic Falcons Finish Strong at Phi Rho Pi Nationals
The Southeastern Illinois College Forensic Falcons rounded out a year of competition at the Phi Rho Pi National Forensics competition in Bethesda, Maryland (located outside of Washington DC); an event involving five days of intense competition, showcasing the best speakers in the nation. Continuing Southeastern Illinois College’s proud tradition of top honors, the six-person team took the gold medal in the Wheeler Division for Individual Events, and Silver medal in Overall Sweepstakes, including Debate.
Fifty-five colleges from across the country competed, with nearly 400 competitors, and almost 1,000 different events being performed during the week-long competition.
The following students earned semifinal (bronze) and final (gold) medals in their events:
Trey Murphy (Benton) received bronze in Informative, Poetry, and Prose, Jenkin Naas (Harrisburg) earned bronze in Informative, Connor Faucet (Benton) received bronze in both Duo Interpretation (with partner Neva Wasson) and Prose, Neva Wasson (Harrisburg) earned bronze in both Speech to Entertain and Duo Interpretation (with partner Connor Faucet), and Omari Jackson (Mt. Vernon) earned bronze with her Persuasion and gold medals in both Prose and Informative. She also placed 3rd in the Overall Sweepstakes for the Bovero-Tabor award. Omari’s Informative was also the highest ranked Informative speech by ranks in the competition.
Omari Jackson says of her experience at Phi Rho Pi, “Nationals allowed me to speak progress and change into the world. I’m glad I was able to share my voice in Washington, D.C., the place where all the change happens.”
Returning as a second-year competitor, she adds, “Nationals was even better the second time and I’m glad I was able to experience it with our small but mighty team of six! I’m very proud of everyone!”
Sophomore Jenkin Naas agreed that his “experience at nationals was fulfilling, without at doubt. I got to do what I love, reunite with old friends, spend time with my team, and even mark some states off my list!”
Coach Jenny Billman commended the performance of SIC this year, “I am so proud of our team. They worked hard this season!”
The team is coached by Jenny Billman, Paul Cummins, and Rachel Parish.
The Southeastern Illinois College speech team began in 1970 under coaches Gary Allen and the late George Dennis. The team hit the top 10 nationally in the late 1970’s and has placed in the top five community colleges nationwide nearly 40 times, with hundreds of individual championships. The team earned its first national title in forensics in 1986, with additional titles following in 1997, 2005 and 2021. For more information, visit sic.edu/ForensicFalcons or join them on social media: facebook.com/ForensicFalcons.