Speech and Debate Team member goes to nationals

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West Liberty University is one of 84 colleges and universities to have competed at the National Forensic Association’s 40th National Tournament, held April 15-19 at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

This marks the first time that West Liberty University has ever competed at the National Forensic Association’s National Tournament. Other schools as large as the University of Texas at Austin and Ivy League schools like Cornell University were also represented.

Freshman James Birch from Beaver, W. Va. Competed in Prose Interpretation, going up against more than 200 students in this event. Birch qualified for National Tournament by finishing sixth in Prose Interpretation at the West Virginia Intercollegiate Forensic Association’s State Tournament.

“I am really excited to compete at Nationals.” Birch said, “I really like that I have the chance to compete against people from all across the country. This is a great experience.”

Ryan McCullough, WLU Speech Team Faculty Adviser, stated, “This is a wonderful opportunity. It is extremely impressive that James was able to qualify for the National Tournament as a freshman.”

Although Birch failed to qualify for the next round, McCullough still sees the experience as extremely beneficial. “James and I were both pleased with the experience, and we both think his National Tournament experience will benefit him immensely for next year,” he said.

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