Texas Speech Adds Three More National Titles

Fresh off of its American Forensic Association national team championship, the Texas Speech Team added more to its resume for 2022, winning three more individual championships at the National Forensic Association contest hosted April 14-18 on the campus of Illinois State University.

Texas Speech Full Team NFA 2022

Communication Studies Political Communication & History sophomore Fernando Cereceres was the top overall speaker at the tournament, joining previous UT students Farrah Bara (2016) and Abigail Onwunali (2018) as recipients of the national title.

Government & Political Communication senior Evan Ortiz joined Cereceres in the top fifteen placing 11th overall, while also winning the national championship in Persuasion for his second time. Sociology/Government senior Meera Sam also placed 15th in the overall standings.

Theatre Studies sophomore Valeria Najera Zavala was crowned the NFA national champion in Prose Interpretation, along with a 5th place finish in Dramatic Interpretation.

16 entries were recognized as national finalists, placing in the top 6 in their respective categories. Kai Solis and Fernando Cereceres were the national runners up in Duo Interpretation. Cereceres placed 3rd in Program Oral interpretation, 4th in Dramatic Interpretation, and 5th in Poetry Interpretation enroute to his top overall performance. Solis also appeared in the Program Oral Interpretation final, placing 6th.

Corporate Communication Honors senior Kimberly Lee placed 3rd in Dramatic Interpretation and 4th in the Program category. Meera Sam ranked 4th in Rhetorical Criticism, Jackson Reich placed 5th in Persuasive Speaking, and Spencer Schumacher placed 6th in Impromptu. Team Captains Erin Swearingen (6th place in Prose Interpretation) and Roy Salazar (4th place in Persuasion and 6th place in After Dinner Speaking) were also recognized as national finalists.

Though missing a few students from its AFA championship group, the team placed second overall at the tournament, and 23 different students received individual awards.

Full results for the contest are available at: https://www.speechwire.com/nfa2022.pdf

More Success at IOA

Following the AFA & NFA contests, UT students received additional honors at the 148th Interstate Oratorical Association's national contest. The IOA is the oldest continuously running national public speaking contest in the country, and the 2022 contest was hosted by Butler University in Indianapolis.

Senior Evan Ortiz wrapped up his career as the IOA national runner-up while junior Plan II student Jackson Reich placed 4th.

Texas Speech is directed by Communication Studies Professor of Instruction Martin "Randy" Cox, assisted by Eva Margarita and Danielle Castillo. Additional coaching support is provided by UT alumni Karon Bowers and Jordan Auzenne.

Photo of Fernando Cereceres NFA 2022
Photo credit Valeria Najera & Kimberly Lee

2022 NFA Overall National Champion Fernando Cereceres

Photo of Valeria Najera Zavala
Photo credit Kimberly Lee

2022 NFA National Champion in Prose Interpretation Valeria Najera Zavala

Photo of Evan Ortiz and Jackson Reich
Photo credit Martin Cox

2022 Interstate Oratorical Association national finalists Evan Ortiz (2nd) and Jackson Reich (4th). Ortiz was also the 2022 NFA National Champion in Persuasive Speaking.

Individual Awards:

Alexis Alvarado: Octo-finalist - Rhetorical Criticism
Carli Hall: Semi-finalist - Dramatic Interp; Quarter-finalist - Duo Interp; Octo-finalist - Poetry, Duo Interp & Prose
Clay Parker: Quarter-finalist - Impromptu
Erin Swearingen: 6th place - Prose Interpretation; Quarter-finalist - After Dinner Speaking & Informative Speaking; Octo-finalist - Persuasion & Duo Interpretation
Evan Ortiz: National Champion - Persuasion; Semi-finalist - After Dinner Speaking & Extemporaneous Speaking; Quarter-finalist - Informative; Octo-finalist - Impromptu; 11th place overall speaker
Fernando Cereceres: National Champion - Pentath (Overall Speaker); 2nd place - Duo Interp; 3rd place - Program Oral Interp; 4th place - Dramatic Interp; 5th place - Poetry Interp; Quarter-finalist - Prose; Octo-finalist - Informative
Fonda Pham: Octo-finalist - After Dinner Speaking
Hiba Faruqi: Octo-finalist - Extemp & Impromptu
Jackson Reich: 5th place - Persuasion; Semi-finalist - Duo Interp; Quarter-finalist - Impromptu; Octo-finalist - Duo Interp
Jaime Gutierrez: Quarter-finalist - Impromptu; Octo-finalist - Extemp    
Kai Solis: 2nd place - Duo Interp; 6th place - Program Oral Interp; Semi-finalist - Poetry; Quarter-finalist - Dramatic Interp; Octo-finalist - Prose
Kevin Ahern: Semi-finalist - Dramatic Interp; Quarter-finalist - Duo Interpretation
Kimberly Lee: 3rd place - Dramatic Interp; 4th place - Program Oral Interp; Semi-finalist - Prose & Duo Interp
Krystal Perez: Octo-finalist - Poetry & Program Oral Interp
Kyle Ahern: Quarter-Finalist - Dramatic Interp, Program Oral Interp, Poetry; Octo-finalist - Prose & Duo Interp
Meera Sam: 4th place - Rhetorical Criticism; Semi-finalist - Impromptu & Extemp; Quarter-finalist - Informative & Persuasive; Octo-finalist - After Dinner Speaking; 15th place overall speaker
Natalie Perez: Octo-finalist - Program Oral Interp
Pablo Labiaga: Quarter-finalist - Prose; Octo-finalist - Duo Interp
Patrick Pham: Octo-finalist - Duo Interp
Roy Salazar: 4th place - Persuasion; 6th place - After Dinner Speaking; Quarter-finalist - Rhetorical Criticism; Octo-finalist - Informative Speaking
Ryan Adams: Octo-finalist - Impromptu
Spencer Schumacher: 6th place - Impromptu; Quarter-finalist - Extemp; Octo-finalist - After Dinner Speaking & Informative
Valeria Najera Zavala: National Champion - Prose Interpretation; 5th place - Dramatic Interp; Semi-finalist - Poetry; Octo-finalist - Duo Interp

Additional contributing team members: Kaylee Frazier, Nawal Lashari, Sahar Yusuf