University of Nebraska at Omaha’s competitive speech team, MavForensics, earned their spot in the country’s top 10 forensics programs for the seventh consecutive year.
Following the team’s success at the American Forensics Association’s National Individual Events Tournament, they earned the rank of sixth best team in the country—a feat made more impressive given the smaller size of UNO’s team compared to other top 10 schools. With many top 10 teams bringing around 20 to 30 members, MavForensics secured their rank with 13 students.
“To take such a young team and be ranked sixth in the nation is insanity,” said Abbie Syrek, the director of MavForensics and a professor at UNO.
Syrek has been the director of MavForensics since fall of 2006.
“MavForensics, nationally, has become really well known for being a small but particularly mighty school for speech,” said Cameron Logsdon, the assistant director of MavForensics. “We’re getting recruits on our team who came specifically to UNO from Minnesota, Missouri, Colorado and California.”
Logsdon compared the scoring system of speech tournaments to that of a track tournament. While students are competing in their individual events, they are contributing points to the overall team’s score.
The journey to the top 10 is a taxing, time consuming process. Students on the team spend many hours each week, starting in July, preparing speeches and eventually traveling to tournaments later in the season. Tournament weekends typically involve team members leaving Friday afternoon and returning late on Sunday night after a full weekend of competing.
“It’s a rare opportunity that someone my age or someone at my level in education is able to travel the country for an entire school year,” said Sarah Maul, a sophomore in MavForensics. “We meet people from all around the country and build relationships.”
Maul was one of the 13 students who competed in the American Forensics Association’s National Individual Events Tournament.