Friday, November 19, 2010

Pancakes for a Purpose!

Photo: This is one of my favorite pictures from the season. Tessie (junior) dressed up as a bumblebee for Halloween! She and coach Abbie are doing the spinning-hug thing.

Hi friends,
Whew, we can't believe how quickly this first semester has flown by! We only have two more tournaments left in the fall semester. The team travels to Hastings College this afternoon and then will make a trip to Kearney the first weekend in December.

This year has been absolutely magical. We have an amazing group of kids. But as most of you probably know, budget is always a huge concern for us. We already have several students qualified for the national tournament in April, problem is, we still don't have the tournament paid for. So, we're having Pancakes for a Purpose! On Thursday, December 2nd from 5-7pm, the Pancake Man will be serving all you can eat pancakes and sausage as a fundraiser to send our team to nationals! We'll have a cake walk and other fun games, and trust us, these cakes are delicious! We need to raise $3,500 between now and April, so we are counting on all of our friends and family to consume pancakespancakespancakes so our speech kids can go to nationals, instead of crying in a corner in April! :)
Prices for all-you-can-eat pancakes and sausage:

Adults: $7
Children ages 5-10: $5
...Children 4 and under eat for free!

The event will be in Omaha at Royal View Hall. This venue is across the street from Rosenblatt Stadium. Take the 13th street exit (exit 454) toward Stadium/Zoo. Royal View Hall will be at the intersection of 13th and Phelps (your third right). There is limited parking near the building, so it is suggested that people park across the street in the Rosenblatt parking lot.

If you cannot attend the pancake feed, please consider making a donation to the team on our online website. Any amount is appreciated and will make a difference for our students. Also, if you donate on this website, you'll receive a tax-deductible receipt! YAY! Here is the link:

Photo: Look at these kids! Aren't they vibrant young professionals? They need your help! Come eat pancakes!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Forensics Kicks Off!

Eastin Yates, Tessie Stednitz, Allison Henri and Stephanie Larsen.

Hello friends! Well, the forensics season has officially begun. It's been so busy that we haven't yet posted results from LAST week's tournament, let alone THIS week's tournament.

So, below you'll see results from our weekend in Hutchinson, KS (both Saturday and Sunday), as well as our weekend in magical Manhattan, KS (both Saturday and Sunday).

Results from K-State/KSU Alumni Swing

Saturday, October 2nd
  • Niveditha Rajagopalan: 1st in Persuasion, 1st in After-Dinner Speaking (ADS), 2nd in Info, 4th in Impromptu, 6th in Extemp.
  • Cameron Logsdon: 1st in POI, 1st in DI, 2nd in Poetry, 3rd in Prose.
  • Allison Henri:1st in CA, 1st in Poetry, 2nd in Prose, 3rd in Duo with Tessie
  • Tessie Stednitz: 3rd in Poetry, 3rd in Duo with Allison
  • Eastin Yates: 5th in Duo with Stephanie, 4th in POI, 4th in DI
  • Stephanie Larsen: 5th in Duo with Eastin
  • Brian Robinson: 2nd in Extemp, 3rd in Impromptu, 3rd in ADS
  • Blaine Miller: 3rd in CA
  • Jacki Miller: 2nd in Impromptu, 4th in Persuasion
  • Cole Evans: 3rd in POI, 6th in Prose
  • Trae Graham: 5th in Poetry
  • Hope Stanley: 7th in Extemp
Individual Sweepstakes
Three awards were given in individual sweepstakes, all of which went to UNO students.
  • 3rd: Niveditha Rajagopalan
  • 1st: Allison Henri and Cameron Logsdon had an unbreakable tie for 1st place.
Team Sweepstakes:
  • 3rd: Doane College
  • 2nd: UNL
  • 1st: UNO
The team in Manhattan, KS (missing Iven).

Sunday, October 3rd
  • Niveditha Rajagopalan: 1st in Persuasion, 1st in ADS, 3rd in Impromptu, 4th in Extemp.
  • Cameron Logsdon: 1st in Poetry, 1st in Drama, 2nd in Prose.
  • Allison Henri: 1st in Prose, 2nd in Duo with Tessie, 4th in Communication Analysis (CA).
  • Joy Kathurima: 3rd in Persuasion
  • Traelon Graham: 5th in Poetry
  • Stephanie Larsen: 4th in Informative
  • Blaine Miller: 3rd in CA, 5th in Duo in Cole
  • Cole Evans: 2nd in Program of Oral Interpretation (POI), 5th in Duo with Blaine
  • Eastin Yates: 3rd in POI, 5th in DI
  • Tessie Stednitz: 2nd in Duo with Allison, 3rd in Prose,3rd in Drama
  • Brian Robinson: 6th in Impromptu
  • Jacki Miller: 6th in Extemp
Individual Sweepstakes

Three awards were given in individual sweepstakes, all of which went to UNO students.
  • 3rd: Allison Henri
  • 2nd: Cameron Logsdon
  • 1st: Niveditha Rajagopalan
Team Sweepstakes
  • 3rd: Doane College
  • 2nd: UNL
  • 1st: UNO
Results from the Hutchinson Community College Swing

For fun, I'm going to refer to the team by some of their nicknames from time to time...because I think you'll enjoy it. And because I love them and they're all terms of endearment. :)

Cole and Blaine having fun.

Saturday, September 25th
  • Niveditha Rajagopalan: 1st in Persuasion, 3rd in Informative, 4th in ADS, 5th in Impromptu
  • Cameron Logsdon: 1st in POI, 1st in Duo with Doza, 3rd in Poetry
  • Allison Henri: 1st in Poetry, 3rd in Duo with Tessie, 5th in CA
  • Tessie Stednitz: 1st in Poetry, 3rd in Duo with Allison
  • Eastin Yates: 6th in DI
  • Stephanie Larsen: 5th in Informative
  • Brian Robinson: 1st in ADS
  • Blaine Miller: 2nd in Duo with ColE, 3rd in CA
  • Jacki Miller: Semifinal in Extemp, Semifinal in Impromptu
  • Cole Evans: 2nd in Duo with Blaine, 5th in Prose
  • Iven Mendoza: 1st in DI, 1st in Duo with Cambo, 6th in Prose, 6th in POI
  • Joy Kathurima: 2nd in Persuasion
  • Traelon Graham: 6th in Poetry
Team Sweepstakes
  • 3rd: K-State
  • 2nd: UNL
  • 1st: UNO
Trae Graham, Hope Stanley, Brian Robinson, Jacki Miller, Joy Kathurima and NivRaj.

Sunday, September 26th
  • Niveditha Rajagopalan: 1st in ADS, 2nd in Persuasion, 2nd in Informative, 5th in Impromptu, 5th in Extemp
  • Allison Henri: 1st in Poetry, 2nd in CA, 2nd in Duo with Tessie
  • Cameron Logsdon: 2nd in Prose, 2nd in POI, 3rd in DI
  • Brian Robinson: 1st in Impromptu, 4th in Extemp, 5th in ADS
  • Tessie Stednitz: 2nd in Poetry, 2nd in Duo with Allison, 5th in Prose
  • Stephanie Larsen: 5th in Informative
  • Blaine Miller: 1st in CA, 5th in Duo with Cole
  • Jacki Miller: 1st in Persuasion
  • Cole Evans: 3rd in Prose, 5th in Duo with Blaine
  • Iven Mendoza: 1st in DI
  • Traelon Graham:4th in Poetry
Team Sweepstakes
  • 3rd: K-State
  • 2nd: UNL
  • 1st: UNO

Monday, June 7, 2010

Meet Mark and Randy!

Photo: Dr. Randy Rose and Dr. Mark Wohar smile for the camera, knowing they've set the forensics team up for success this year.

Hello everyone! We'd like you to meet two men who have kicked-off the 2010-2011 forensics season with a bang. Dr. Randy Rose (UNO School of Communication) and Dr. Mark Wohar (UNO Department of Economics) have stepped forward and made matching donations to the forensics team. Together, these two men have already paid for one-quarter of the money we need to raise for the national tournament in April. Not only will their gift pay for competition, but it also decreases the burden on our students to do extra fundraising throughout the year, which keeps them focused on academics.

Brian Robinson, a senior on the team, had this to say about Mark and Randy's generosity:

"After having competed in forensics for seven seasons, I can truly say that it is only by our donations and others like Dr. Wohar and Dr. Rose that this noble activity can endure. A great debt is owed to those who support and cherish the art of forensics. Thank you."

Thank you, Mark and Randy, for your commitment to UNO, forensics, and our students. We will do all we can to make you proud this year.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Auditions for next season!

Photo: The team stopped for a quick shot while touring the campus at nationals. Do you want to be part of this crazy group? Then contact Coach Abbie ( for audition information.

Hi everyone. We speech folk hope that the first few weeks of summer are treating you well. What's going on with the team, you wonder? Glad you asked. On Saturday, June 12th the team will host our annual audition day as we prepare for the fall season. Anyone is welcome to audition, you just have to be an undergraduate student with plans to attend UNO this fall. For those of you who will be new to campus, let Coach Abbie know if you would like to meet with any other UNO groups, organizations, or academic departments. We're more than happy to help you make a day of it. Parents and friends are welcome to come along, just let Abbie know how many people you are planning to bring with you so we can order enough pizza.

If you're interested, contact Coach Abbie ( for more information. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

UNO Helps High School Students "Speak Up!"

Photo: Two East students approach Niveditha, Cameron, and Iven to ask questions about the college experience.

Way back in November, Shelley Molland, speech teacher at Sioux City's East High School, contacted Coach Abbie to arrange a collaborative workshop between East High and UNO. On April 30th, the project became reality! UNO students Iven Mendoza, Cameron Logsdon, and Niveditha Rajagopalan traveled with Abbie to East High to host "Speak Up," an all-day workshop focused on teaching minority students how to find their voice and use it to prepare for college and the professional world.

Photo: Niveditha delivers her After-Dinner speech about arranged marriages to the audience of East students.

The workshop began with Iven, Cameron, and Niveditha performing a variety of events they used in competition this year. After each performance, the 70 high school students in attendance pointed out their favorite aspects of each piece and discussed the social themes embedded within the selections. Then, 10 East students were given one-on-one coaching time with Cam, Iven, and Niv. After some practice time, these 10 students performed their selections as their peers applauded enthusiastically. Following this coaching session, Iven, Cam and Niv shared their personal stories of what brought them to UNO, how they finance college, and what keeps them motivated to keep working hard both in forensics, and in the classroom. They answered several questions from East students, and even exchanged contact information with some students and have since been communicating about college preparation and the processes involved with applications and scholarships.

Photo: Iven, Cameron, and Niveditha answered questions about the various campus activities students can get involved in at UNO.

In this wonderful activity of competitive speech, we often talk about the importance of getting into the community and using our skills to make a difference. Iven, Cameron, and Niveditha did just that on Friday. They spent the day mentoring 70 exceptional students. When it was all said and done, one student approached Niv and said, "Everyone around me was telling me not to go to college, but watching you three today taught me I have to follow my dreams." Another student told Abbie, "College always seemed so out of reach and a little too difficult. Now it seems cool and really fun. I can't wait!" It was a beautiful day.

Friday, April 16, 2010

THE RESULTS ARE IN: UNO Forensics Places 8th in the Nation and Cameron Logsdon Wins National Championship!

Photo: The team stops for a quick picture after the awards ceremony on Sunday night. Does it look like they've been crying? You'd better believe it!

Well friends, our forensics season has come to a close and we have never had a season like this one. All year we've been asking for donations of time, money and resources so we could pay to travel to the national tournament, the American Forensics Association-National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET). All of you, our friends, family, and alumni, made it possible to go to nationals this spring and we're so glad you did. UNO Forensics placed 8th in nation out of 76 schools and junior Cameron Logsdon became UNO's first national champion!

UNO Forensics traveled to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for the AFA-NIET, March 31st-April 5th. For those of you who are still learning about forensics, the national tournament is so large that events don't break straight to finals. Instead, the first elimination round is quarter-finals (the top 24 in the nation). From there, 12 competitors in each event advance to semi-finals (top 12 in the nation) and from there, the top six in each event become your national finalists.

This year, UNO had 9 breaks to quarter-finals, a school record (the previous record was 5). UNO quarter-finalists include:
  • Cameron Logsdon, Poetry Interpretation
  • Brian Robinson, Impromptu Speaking
  • Tessie Stednitz, Poetry Interpretation
UNO advanced three events to semi-finals. Our semi-finalists include:
  • Allison Henri, Informative Speaking
  • Blaine Miller, Communication Analysis
  • Tessie Stednitz, Dramatic Interpretation
Three UNO speakers advanced to final rounds (previous record was 2)!
  • Cameron Logsdon is UNO's first national champion! He won Program of Oral Interpretation.
  • Allison Henri placed 2nd in Poetry.
  • Iven Mendoza placed 3rd in Poetry.
We are also proud to share that junior Allison Henri placed 16th in individual sweepstakes. Awards in this category are given to the top-20 speakers in the nation. Allison has joined alum Matt Eledge (19th place in 2009) as only two UNO speakers ever to take home an individual sweepstakes award.
Photo: Meet your UNO out-rounders! Blaine Miller, Tessie Stednitz, Cameron Logsdon, Allison Henri, Brian Robinson and Iven Mendoza.

Finally, for the first time ever, UNO cracked into the Top-10 and placed 8th as a school. The highest UNO has ever placed at the NIET was 13th (both in 2008 and 2009). Although placing in the Top-10 was a glimmer in our eye, we never thought doing so was actually possible. But we did it! And now the coaching staff has to cash in a few bets they made with the team. Let's just say that coach Vanessa will soon be sporting a blonde head of hair, perfect for summer! And did I hear someone say tattoos? Yes, coaches Abbie and Ryan will get inked! :)

To say that we owe this success to all of you, our devoted, loving family, friends, and alumni, would be an understatement of epic proportions. THANK YOU to each of you who attended chili feeds, bake sales, and Night Before Nationals. THANK YOU to each of you for donating to the team to make this dream possible. Thank you to Dr. Jeremy Lipschultz, Director of the School of Communication for paving our road and being a constant supporter of our students. Thank you to Dean Gail Baker (College of Communication, Fine Arts & Media) and Chancellor John Christensen for their support of our program. UNO Forensics is part of all of us. We did this together, and now we can celebrate a season that still has Ryan and I wondering if it actually happened. Here is to you!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chillin' in Manhattan, the good one

We're chillin' in Manhattan with Nick Herink and Taylor Sloey. Nick and Taylor compete for UNL and have a new duo this weekend. Can't wait to see it! Someimes Nick forgets to pack clothes for the tournament and has to borrow them. Nick creates alternate realities wherein he thinks UNO judges glare at him while he performs. How could we possibly glare at such a beautiful performer?

In other news, Starbucks donated coffee to the tournament! More results to come as the day continues . . .

Friday, February 26, 2010

Results from State!

Photo: Stephanie Larsen, Eastin Yates, Tessie Stednitz and Allison Henri enjoy a team dinner on Friday night.

The forensics team had an amazing state tournament on February 20th. We traveled to Doane College to compete against the other amazing schools in our state. On Friday night the team enjoyed dinner at the 9th Street Grill (see photos above). The tournament began early Saturday morning and UNO had a great showing! In addition to having five state champions in six events, UNO won the state Quality Award and placed 2nd in team sweepstakes.

Photo: Jonna Rebensdorf, Cortney Griffith, Iven Mendoza, Tessie Stednitz, Allison Henri, Blaine Miller, and Cameron Logsdon stopped for a photo after the awards ceremony.
  • Cameron Logsdon was the state champion of Prose and Program of Oral Interpretation. He also placed 2nd in Dramatic Interpretation and 4th in Duo with Allison Henri.
  • Niveditha Rajagopalan was the state champion of After-Dinner Speaking. She also placed 2nd in Oratory, qualifying her to compete at the national Interstate Oratory Contest at the University of Oklahoma in April. Niveditha also placed 3rd in Extemporaneous Speaking.
  • Iven Mendoza was the state champion in Poetry. He also placed 2nd in Program of Oral Interpretation and 3rd in Duo with Cortney Griffith.
  • Brian Robinson was the state champion in Impromptu Speaking. He also placed 6th in Oratory, 2nd in Extemporaneous Speaking, 5th in After-Dinner Speaking and was a semi-finalist in Communication Analysis.
  • Tessie Stednitz was the state champion of Dramatic Interpretation.
  • Allison Henri placed 3rd in Program of Oral Interpretation and 4th in Duo with Cameron Logsdon.
  • Blaine Miller placed 3rd in Communication Analysis, 4th in Dramatic Interpretation, 4th in Prose Interpretation and 6th place in Duo with Danielle Steen.
  • Danielle Steen placed 6th in Duo with Blaine Miller.
  • Cortney Griffith placed 3rd in Duo with Iven Mendoza and 5th in Dramatic Interpretation.
  • Eastin Yates placed 6th in Program of Oral Interpretation and was the top-novice in Prose Interpretation.
  • Stephanie Larsen placed 7th in Informative Speaking.
In addition to this competitive success, UNO was very pleased to have three students nominated for the Spirit of NIFA Award. Each school in the state nominates two students for this award who demonstrate leadership, professionalism, and success both competitively and/or in leadership roles. Three UNO students were nominated by other schools for the award: Niveditha Rajagopalan, Brian Robinson, and Eastin Yates. The winners were both from UNL, Taylor Sloey and Mallory Marsh. Congratulations to two outstanding students for this well-deserved award!

Finally, as was mentioned above, the state tournament is unique because the top two speakers in Oratory advance to compete at the national Interstate Oratorical Association tournament at the University of Oklahoma in April. Niveditha Rajagoplana placed 2nd in Oratory, Amanda Bouc from Doane College was the champion of the event. Both ladies will travel to Norman to the oldest public speaking competition in the nation. Good luck!

Photo: Three very happy coaches! Ryan Syrek, Abbie Syrek and Vanessa Hatfield are all smiles after the state tournament.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Results from the Fat Tuesday Swing

Photo: Coach Vanessa Hatfield is pictured between her parents, Doug and Betty at the Hatfield home on Saturday night. Dan Reeker and Iven Mendoza are ready to eat!

UNO sent nine students and two coaches to UNK February 6th-7th to compete in the annual Fat Tuesday swing. Coach Vanessa's family invited the team over for dinner on Saturday night. As Tessie and Eastin played the piano and sang music from the musical Wicked, Abbie taught Niveditha how to wash dishes! The rest of the team ate their weight in lasagna, cupcakes and ice cream. Thanks Mama and Papa Hatfield for a wonderful night!

Photo: Abbie teaches Niveditha how to wash dishes at the Hatfield home Saturday night. Niv was not thrilled, but Abbie was happy that she learned something new!

Saturday, February 6th
Allison Henri: 1st in Informative Speaking, 1st in POI
Danielle Steen: 1st in Duo with Blaine, 2nd in Persuasion
Blaine Miller: 1st in Duo with Danielle
Brian Robinson: 1st in Persuasion
Jacki Miller: 4th in Extemp, 6th in Persuasion.
Jonna Rebensdorf: 4th in prose, 6th in Informative Speaking
Tessie Stednitz: 4th in Informative Speaking

Jacki Miller placed 3rd in individual sweepstakes. UNO placed 3rd as a team.

Crew goes to Hutchinson

On January 30th and 31st, Coach Vanessa took Iven, Jonna and Stephanie to Hutchinson, KS for a tournament at Hutchinson Community College. You can tell from the picture above that they had a great time. Here are the results:

Saturday, January 30th:
Stephanie Larsen: 1st in Duo with Jonna, 3rd in POI, 4th in DI, 5th in Informative.
Jonna Rebensdorf: 1st in Duo with Stephanie, 6th in DI.
Iven Mendoza: 1st in POI

Stephanie also placed 2nd in individual sweepstakes. UNO placed 3rd as a team.

Sunday, January 31st:
Stephanie Larsen: 1st in Informative Speaking, 6th in DI.
Jonna Rebensdorf: 2nd in Prose, 6th in Informative Speaking.
Iven Mendoza: 1st in Prose

UNO placed 3rd as a team.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Speaker Snapshot

Photo: Ryan gives Cameron Logsdon advice before Poetry finals at AFA.

This week's Speaker Snapshot is a little different. Instead of highlighting one of our students, this post will feature Ryan Syrek, a volunteer UNO coach, who was honored at the Kansas in Nebraska tournament this past weekend.

Ryan Syrek has been active in the forensics community for over a decade. He competed for Creighton University and upon graduation was hired as an assistant coach at Creighton University, followed by the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. He now spends several hours each week and most weekends coaching for UNO. Ryan is a volunteer coach at UNO, donating his time editing speeches, cutting literature, coaching events, and traveling with the team to judge at tournaments. Why does he do this? For the love of the game, of course (the fact that his wife is the Director of Forensics at UNO might also have something to do with it!).

On Sunday, January 24th Directors of Forensics Aaron Duncan (UNL) and Craig Brown (KSU) honored Ryan with the Joe Black Distinguished Service Award. During the award presentation they thanked Ryan for being an "advocate for forensics." They also thanked him for writing insightful ballots to encourage competitor growth and for going above and beyond the call of duty as a behind-the-scenes coach. Congrats Ryan! We're lucky to have you.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Kansas in Nebraska Swing

Photo: Stephanie Larsen, Jacki Miller, and Eastin Yates flashing a smile for the camera!

On January 23rd and 24th, the team traveled to Lincoln, NE to compete in the Kansas in Nebraska swing, co-hosted by UNL and K-State. Here are results:

Saturday, January 23rd:
Iven Mendoza: 1st in Duo with Cortney Griffith, 2nd in Poetry, 3rd in Prose, 3rd in POI. Iven also won individual sweepstakes.
Jacki Miller: 1st in Extemp, 4th in Impromptu. Jacki paced 3rd in individual sweepstakes.
Brian Robinson: 1st in Persuasion, 1st in ADS.
Jonna Rebensdorf: 2nd in DI, 4th in Duo with Stephanie Larsen, 6th in Prose
Tessie Stednitz: 5th in Informative
Eastin Yates: 4th in Poetry, 4th in POI
Cortney Griffith: 1st in duo with Iven Mendoza, 5th in DI
Danielle Steen: 2nd in Persuasion

UNO placed 1st as a team.

Sunday, January 24th:
Niveditha Rajagopalan: 1st in Communication Analysis, 4th in Persuasion
Iven Mendoza: 1st in POI, 5th in Prose
Jonna Rebensdorf: 4th in Duo with Stephanie Larsen, 5th in DI
Stephanie Larsen: 3rd in POI, 4th in Duo with Jonna Rebensdorf, 5th in Informative Speaking
Tessie Stednitz: 2nd in Informative Speaking
Brian Robinson: 2nd in Persuasion

UNO placed 3rd as a team on Sunday.
UNO placed 1st in combined team sweepstakes for the weekend.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Results from the Sleet & Sun Swing

On January 16th and 17th Coach Vanessa took Jonna, Jacki, Eastin, Stephanie, Blaine, Iven, Cortney and Danielle to the Sleet & Sun swing in Seward, NE. Here are the results:

Saturday, January 16th:
Blaine Miller placed 1st in Dramatic Interpretation, 2nd in Duo (with Danielle Steen), 2nd in Prose and 6th in Communication Analysis. Blaine also won individual sweepstakes.
Iven Mendoza placed 1st in Duo (with Cortney Griffith) and 2nd in Poetry.
Eastin Yates placed 4th in POI.
Cortney Griffith placed 1st in Duo with Iven.
Jacki Miller placed 6th in Extemporaneous Speaking.
Stephanie Miller and Jonna Rebensdorf placed 4th in Duo.

UNO placed 3rd as a team.

Sunday, January 17th:
Iven Mendoza placed 1st in Duo with Cortney Griffith, 2nd in Poetry, and 6th in Prose.
Eastin Yates placed 2nd in Prose, 3rd in POI, and 6th in Poetry.
Jonna Rebensdorf placed 4th in Prose.
Jacki Miller placed 4th in Extemp.
Stephanie Larsen placed 3rd in Informative Speaking.
Danielle Steen and Blaine Miller placed 4th in Duo.

Blaine Miller won overall individual sweepstakes (Saturday & Sunday combined). The team placed 3rd.

A Weekend in Texas: HFO Results

Photo: Tessie and Cameron on the UT campus.

The weekend of January 16th and 17th was a great one for UNO Forensics! We split squad. Allison, Brian, Cameron, Niveditha and Tessie went with Coach Abbie to Austin for the 11th annual Hell Froze Over (HFO) swing hosted by the University of Texas at Austin and Bradley University. There were 40 schools in attendance and nearly 100 competitors in each event. After two preliminary rounds, 12 competitors advance to semi-finals. Six advance from semis to finals. Here are results from HFO:

Saturday, January 16th:

Cameron Logsdon (junior Speech Communication major) broke all five of his events to semis including Dramatic Interpretation, Duo (with Allison Henri), Poetry, POI, Prose. He advanced three to finals and placed 1st in Poetry, 5th in Duo and 5th in POI. Cameron placed 4th in Overall Individual Sweepstakes.
Allison Henri (junior Speech Communication major) broke two events to semis including Duo (with Cameron Logsdon) and Poetry. She advanced both to finals and placed 2nd in Poetry and 5th in Duo.
Tessie Stednitz (sophomore Elementary Education major) broke two events to semis including Poetry and POI.

UNO placed 4th out of 40 schools.

Sunday, January 17th:
On Sunday, all five UNO students advanced to semis.

Allison Henri broke all five of her events to semis including After-Dinner Speaking (ADS), Duo (with Cameron), Informative Speaking, Poetry, and Prose. She advanced three to finals and placed 5th in Duo, 5th in Poetry and 6th in Prose.
Cameron Logsdon broke three events to semis. He advanced two to finals and placed 1st in POI and 5th in Duo.
Tessie Stednitz broke Poetry to semis and advanced to finals. She placed 2nd in the event.
Niveditha Rajagopalan (sophomore Biotechnology major) broke Impromptu and After-Dinner Speaking to semi-finals.
Brian Robinson (junior Political Science major ) broke impromptu to semi-finals.

UNO tied for fifth place.

Photo: Allison, Niveditha, and Tessie making final revisions to their
speeches before the tournament.

Speaker Snapshots

Blaine Miller is a sophomore on the UNO Forensics team majoring in Secondary Education with emphases in History and English. Blaine graduated in 2008 from Bellevue East High school where he served as a team captain for the forensics team.

During UNO's 2009-2010 season, Blaine has competed in five events including Dramatic Interpretation, Duo, Communication Analysis, Persuasion, and Prose. To give an example of Blaine's work, this year his persuasive speech analyzes the foreign and domestic implications of the ever-growing Evangelical influence in the United States military. As of January, 2010 Blaine has four of his five events qualified for the American Forensics Association-National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET) to be held in April at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire.

When he's not competing or memorizing dates and dialogue, Blaine spends his time relaxing at home with his roommates, two of which are also competitors on the UNO speech team. He also has a part-time job as a DJ at Skate City in Bellevue. Blaine has a particular interest in video and computer games and can rarely be found during downtime with out his laptop nearby.

-By Cameron Logsdon