Mason’s Forensics team takes second place at National competition

Forensics TeamMason’s Forensics Team was recently awarded second place in the nation at the American Forensics Association National Speech Tournament (AFA-NST) with several students receiving individual honors. Mason’s Forensics Team has been the most successful team in the university’s history, continuously ranking in the national top 35 schools every year since 1975, the top five schools each year since 2007.

The AFA-NST brings in colleges and universities from all over the country to compete in public speaking, interpretation of literature, and limited preparation events. This year, almost 60 schools traveled to Santa Ana College in Santa Ana, California. Students must qualify for the national tournament by competing at invitational tournaments throughout the year.

The team is coached by Director Dawn Lowry (Instructor, College of Humanities and Social Sciences) and Assistant Director Tyler Watkins (Instructor, College of Humanities and Social Sciences), as well as graduate student Peter Figueroa, and alumni Kate Polit. The AFA-NST hosts 11 different events in which students compete; three students received National Champion status in five categories: Gustavo Lanz (Impromptu and Extemporaneous Speaking); Atta Gould (Informative Speaking); and Prem Ganesan (Program Oral Interpretation and After Dinner Speaking).

“The students on the team are incredibly hard-working and possess an intellectual curiosity that drives them to seek excellence. We are fortunate to have an administration that has a long history of supporting the competitive arts. Our success would not be possible without the dedication of our coaching staff and the generosity of our alums who donate their time and expertise throughout the year to help us prepare for this important competition,” said Coach Lowry.

 2023 American Forensics Association National Speech Tournament National Results

Overall Team Results 
National Runner-Up (2nd place)

Prose Interpretation
Eleni Mercer:

Gustavo Lanz:
National Champion
Molly Izer: 3rd place
José Quinones: 6th place

Informative Speaking
Atta Gould: National Champion
Lexi Martinez: 4th place
Gustavo Lanz: 5th place
Emily Williams: Semi-Finalist
Prem Ganesan: Quarter-Finalist

Extemporaneous Speaking
Gustavo Lanz:
National Champion
José Quinones: 3rd place

Program Oral Interpretation
Prem Ganesan:
National Champion
Emily Williams: 2nd place

Duo Interpretation
Emily Williams/Eleni Mercer:
Eleni Mercer/Prem Ganesan: Quarter-Finalist

Communication Analysis
Gustavo Lanz: 5th place
José Quinones: 6th place
Molly Izer: Semi-Finalist

Dramatic Interpretation
Steven Franklin:

After Dinner Speaking
Prem Ganesan: National Champion
Sujay Khona: Quarter-Finalist
José Quinones: Semi-Finalist

Poetry Interpretation
Eleni Mercer
: 5th place
Prem Ganesan: Semi-Finalist

Individual Sweepstakes
Emily Williams: 13th place
Prem Ganesan: 8th place
José Quinones: 7th place
Gustavo Lanz: 3rd place

Team Sweepstakes
2nd place

Team members also in attendance include: Anthony Flora, Freya Hutton, Emma Redden, Camila Fuentes, Brooke Gorman, Atiya Idris, and Wes Ireland.