SALINE COUNTY -- Southeastern Illinois College's Forensic Falcons earned gold medal honors in debate, individual events and overall sweepstakes recently at the Phi Rho Pi Regional IV Tournament.
The Falcons also brought home several individual gold medals.
This win comes on the heels of SIC's victory at the International Forensic Tournament. The win at Internationals marked the end of the Falcons' open competition season, with only community college nationals remaining.
Sophomore Nick Triplett explains it this way: "It's like the Olympics. For example, professional hockey in the past had players go compete in the Olympics, then come back to the US and play for a title here."
At Regionals, two SIC team members received special commendations on top performance awards. Galatia's Tiffany Turner was named the Don Hagerty Award winner. This award recognizes outstanding fellowship and community support from a Region IV competitor, and it is voted by all students in the Illinois region.
Eldorado's Shainna Ralston also earned special recognition as the Cheri Corey Individual Sweepstakes Award winner. This award recognizes the top speaker at the tournament. Ralston secured the honor after earning gold medals in all four of her events.
Longtime coach Paul Cummins believes this season is a special one.
"These students had every reason to throw their hands up and quit due to the pandemic restrictions, yet they have proudly pushed forward and succeeded beyond expectation," Cummins said.
As has been the case for the entire 2020-21 season, the tournament was held entirely online. Team members competed virtually in separate, enclosed rooms. Social distancing and masks were required between rounds. All ballots, announcements and awards were handled electronically.
Individual results from the tournament are as follows:
• Shainna Ralston (Eldorado) -- Cheri Corey Individual Sweepstakes Award winner, gold in dramatic interpretation, gold in persuasive speaking, gold in communication analysis, gold in speech to entertain.
• Nick Triplett (Galatia) -- Gold in International Public Debate Association (IPDA) debate, gold in impromptu speaking, gold in extemporaneous speaking, silver in individual sweepstakes, bronze in communication analysis.
• Haley Rice (Stonefort) -- Gold in informative speaking, gold in persuasive speaking, silver in prose interpretation, bronze in communication analysis, bronze in individual sweepstakes.
• Bradlee Frailey (Harrisburg) -- Gold in program oral interpretation, silver in duo interpretation (with partner Addie Hanks), silver in poetry interpretation, silver in speech to entertain, bronze in individual events sweepstakes.
• Collin Sexton (Norris City) -- Silver in IPDA debate, silver in informative speaking, silver in impromptu speaking, silver in extemporaneous speaking, bronze in IPDA speaker awards.
• Tiffany Turner (Galatia) -- Don Hagerty Award winner, silver in prose interpretation, silver in poetry interpretation, silver in dramatic interpretation, bronze in persuasive speaking.
• Kale Rister (Carrier Mills) -- Gold in prose interpretation, gold in impromptu speaking, silver in dramatic interpretation.
• Addie Hanks -- Gold in poetry interpretation, gold in speech to entertain, silver in duo interpretation (with partner Bradlee Frailey).
• Addie Mays (Mount Vernon) -- Gold in prose interpretation, silver in communication analysis, silver in informative speaking.
• Javen Wendler -- Gold in speech to entertain, silver in IPDA debate speaker awards.
• Hunter Rechsteiner -- Bronze in communication analysis.
The team is coached by Jenny Billman, John Corum, and Paul Cummins.
The Falcons' final tournament will be the Phi Rho Pi Nationals for community colleges April 5-11.