HARRISBURG – Southeastern Illinois College’s Forensic Falcons bested strong competition from across Illinois on March 18-19 to win the Phi Rho Pi Region Four Championship in Crystal Lake, Illinois.
The team captured a gold medal in overall competition and a gold medal in individual events competition. The team also produced several of the tournament’s top individual competitors. Sophomore Haley Rice (Stonefort) and first year Omari Jackson (Mount Vernon) both earned gold medals in individual sweepstakes points and tied for the Cheri Corey award, which recognizes the tournament’s top individual speaker. Notably, every member of the regional team advanced to elimination rounds in what’s known as a “team break.”
The regional tournament serves as an important benchmark for the team as the last competition before nationals. “The regional tournament gives us one final opportunity to test our material,” noted Director of Forensics Jenny Billman. Coach John Corum agreed. “It’s an important part of our schedule. That’s one reason we’re proud of the way the students prepared for regionals.”
Equality’s Noah Devous, who brought home one of the team’s nine individual gold medals, notes that travelling to Crystal Lake made regionals even better. “Being in-person for the first time was an incredible experience! Despite the fact that it was a competition, it felt like a big and fun family gathering.”
The team is competing this week (April 3-8) in the Phi Rho Pi National Tournament in St. Louis. The Falcons are coached by Jenny Billman, John Corum, and Paul Cummins.
Individual results from the tournament are as follows.
Haley Rice (Stonefort): Gold in individual sweepstakes, gold in communication analysis, gold in informative speaking, gold in speech to entertain, silver in persuasive speaking.
Omari Jackson (Mount Vernon): Gold in individual sweepstakes, gold in poetry interpretation, gold in program oral interpretation, gold in speech to entertain, silver in prose interpretation.
Trey Murphy (Benton): Gold in duo interpretation (with partner Jenkin Naas), gold in prose interpretation, silver in program oral interpretation, silver in individual sweepstakes.
Noah Devous (Equality): Gold in informative speaking, bronze in communication analysis.
Jenkin Naas (Harrisburg): Gold in duo interpretation (with partner Trey Murphy).
Isaiah Francis (Marion): Bronze in impromptu speaking.