Ann Blackford


College: Communication & Information

UK Forensics Places Third at Kentucky State Championship

Published: Mar 11, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 11, 2014) — University of Kentucky Forensics traveled to Gateway Community and Technical College in Florence, Ky., Friday Feb. 21, to take part in the annual Kentucky Forensics Association championship speech and debate tournament. This event featured competition from nine schools across the Commonwealth including nationally ranked Western Kentucky University and Berea College.


UK placed third in the Grand Championship Sweepstakes which combines points earned in public speaking and debate. As part of this victory, the team placed second in the large school division of individual event sweepstakes and second in the large school division of debate sweepstakes. This more than doubled UK’s performance at the state tournament from the previous year.


Senior Zach Shinall was awarded the Harlan Hamm Award for his dedication and service to forensics during his time as a collegiate competitor. This award is given annually to four graduating seniors who exemplify the spirit of forensics competition in the Commonwealth.


“Zach has been instrumental in starting the team here at UK,” said Director of Forensics Timothy Bill. “His concern for his teammates and his determination to constantly improve as a speaker have made him an ideal competitor. I can’t think of anyone who is more deserving of this award.”


Bill was awarded Coach of the Year by the Kentucky Forensics Association. This recognition is determined by a vote of the competitors from all teams attending the state tournament. Bill received this award for his work establishing and growing forensics at UK.


In addition to these accolades, members of the UK Forensics Team were elected to officer positions within the Kentucky Forensics Association. Bill assumed the office of president after serving as the organization’s vice president for the past year. Sophomore Abel Rodriguez III was chosen by his peers to serve as the student president and freshman Sam Northrup was elected student treasurer.


The University of Kentucky was also selected as the location for next year’s state championship tournament. As host, UK will welcome collegiate forensics teams from all across Kentucky in February 2015.


The following individual successes contributed to the team’s outstanding performance at the Kentucky State Championship Tournament:


Individual Sweepstakes

2nd Place – Dianté Elcock

4th Place – Abel Rodriguez III

6th Place – Zach Shinall

Top Novice – Dianté Elcock


After Dinner Speaking

5th Place – Dianté Elcock

6th Place – Zach Shinall


Duo Interpretation

4th Place – Zach Shinall and Dianté Elcock


Editorial Impromptu Speaking

6th Place – Sam Northrup

Top Novice – Sam Northrup


Extemporaneous Speaking

3rd Place – Abel Rodriguez III


Impromptu Speaking

5th Place – Sam Northrup

Top Novice – Sam Northrup


Informative Speaking

4th Place – Zach Shinall


Radio Broadcasting

5th Place – Sam Northrup


Parliamentary Debate

6th Place Novice Speaker – Sam Northrup

10th Place Open Speaker – Abel Rodriguez III


Persuasive Speaking

3rd Place – Abel Rodriguez III

7th Place – Sam Northrup


Program Oral Interpretation

2nd Place – Dianté Elcock

5th Place – Ryan Winstead

Top Novice – Dianté Elcock


UK Forensics is a student organization within the College of Communication and Information. For more information, please contact Director Timothy Bill at The team’s next competition will be the Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament March 20-23 in Indianapolis, Ind.




MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Blackford at 859032306442 or


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