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Malone University Forensics Team enjoys successful semester – capped by wins at National Competition

April 22, 2013 | Release # 6558


(Left to right: Casey Stevens, Amanda Maxwell, Paige Nagy, Marissa Lolli) 

Four representatives of the Malone University Forensics team brought home a total of seven trophies from the National Christian College Forensics Invitational (NCCFI) hosted by John Brown University earlier this semester, including a tie for top honors among a field of 24 college and university speech and debate teams participating, placing second after the tie-breaker of the eight schools in the small entry category.

Paige Nagy, a senior intervention specialist from Rocky River, and Amanda Maxwell, a senior psychology major from Doylestown, took first place in duo interpretation. In addition, Maxwell placed third in communication analysis and Nagy placed third in faith literature!

The duo program illuminated the seriousness of mental illness, a topic that is particularly relevant given societal discourse regarding school shootings, medications, and lacking social support.


"Paige and I spread this message in a creative way," said Maxwell. "We portrayed characters who suffered from mental illness both directly and indirectly. The story we told was powerful and people have been affected by it all over the country. Winning first place didn't mean as much as knowing that people cared about our message. After the awards ceremony, several competitors congratulated us and told us that it was well deserved. One of our judges thanked us for performing the piece and stated, "Thank you for doing that piece, and doing it so well."

Comments from judges included:

From Biola University (California) – "You both do an incredible job performing a very important argument about mental illness that people need to hear."

From Kansas Wesleyan University (Kansas) - "Impressive! No dry eyes in the room."

From Bethel University (Minnesota) – "Fantastic! Amazing message. Be proud of what you have done here. I will remember this program."

Additional award-winning performances at Nationals included:

  • Casey Stevens, a junior communication arts major from Berlin Center, and Marisa Lolli, a freshman early childhood education major from Canton, won fifth place in duo. Lolli also placed fourth in novice prose as well as fourth in novice dramatic interpretation.
  • As a team – the women tied for first place with Belmont University in the overall sweepstakes for Division 3, before placing send after the tiebreaker of the eight schools in the small entry category.

The team is coached by Ann O. Lawson, MBA, APR, instructor in communication arts and director of the forensics program at Malone University.

Following is a recap of forensic tournament results for the full team of 11 students throughout the spring semester of 2013:

Ohio University

Competing Schools: Butler University, Cedarville University, Heidelberg University, ITCC, Lafayette College, Marietta College, Muskingum University, Ohio University, University of Akron

Ohio Forensics Association Novice Championship – Team placed third in overall sweepstakes in the Open Division

  • Marisa Lolli, a freshman early childhood education major from Canton – first place in duo with Patty Rhinehart that commemorates the events of September 11, 200; second in dramatic interpretation with a modern retelling of the Alice in Wonderland story; second in prose with Daisy Fay, the tragic yet uplifting story of a young girl who survives her parent's divorce and the death of her mother; second in program interp on the Quaker theme of the Testimony of Simplicity.
  • Patty Rhinehart, a sophomore communication arts major from Waynesville – first place in duo with Marisa Lolli that commemorates the events of September 11, 2001.
  • Becca Yourko , a sophomore communication arts major from Tippecanoe– first  in poetry that encourages listeners to think positively
  • Josh Campbell, a sophomore mathematics major from Mount Vernon – fifth in extemporaneous speaking on current events in our nation and world
  • Katrina Regier, a junior psychology major from Orville – third in prose with a selection that chronicles a woman's marriage to a man with Asperger's Syndrome.

Ohio University Varsity tournament

  • Amanda Maxwell, a senior psychology major from Doylestown – third in Poetry that juxtaposes dreams and nightmares; third in prose of  "My Sister," which tells the story of a young woman who learns to cope with her sister's mental illness and eventual suicide; third in communication analysis that addresses the impact of social art on society and applies the tenets of a scholarly theory to the work of Swedish artist Makode Linde who, in 2012, attempted to raise outrage about the practice of female genital mutilation in Africa with a controversial performance art piece.
  • Sarah Varnell, a senior zoo and wildlife biology from Wilmington, Del. – second in program interpretation with a collection of prose, poetry and other literature on the topic of worldview, titled, "Do you see what I see?"  Sixth in impromptu speaking, in which students have two minutes to prepare a 5-minute speech in response to a quotation or prompt.

Wilkes University 

Competing Schools: Bloomsburg University, Fayetteville State University, Hampton University, Marywood University, Randolph-Macon College, West Chester University, Shepherd University

  • Amanda Maxwell – first place in communication analysis; third in duo with Paige Nagy titled, "Don't Call Me Crazy," that takes a compelling and honest look at the effect of mental illness on families, particularly relevant after recent school shootings; fifth in Poetry
  • Paige Nagy – second in dramatic interpretation with a performance based on the documentary "Purity," about the Jewish rite of Miqveh and its impact on one woman's life; third in duo with Amanda Maxwell
  • Casey Stevens, a junior communication arts major from Berlin Center – second in prose based on the book The Pregnancy Project, where a high school girl fakes a pregnancy to gauge the reactions of her community; fourth in after dinner speaking on the current economic impact and societal obsession with extreme couponing
  • Becca Yourko – third in poetry; fourth in prose with the Joan Didion story of her early days as an author and the choices she made for her family
  • Tim Woods, a junior communication arts major from Orange Park, Fla. – third in after dinner speaking with a humorous look at America's obsession with infomercials
  • Darius Givens, a junior communication arts major from Farmington Hills, Mich. – second in after dinner speaking with an entertaining take on disciplining children and spanking; second in impromptu speaking

Ohio Forensics Association State Championship

Competing Schools: Bowling Green State University, Capital University, Cedarville University, Heidelberg University, Marietta College, Miami University, Muskingum University, Ohio University, Otterbein University, University of Akron, University of Cincinnati.

  • Paige Nagy – fourth in prose;  sixth in duo with Amanda Maxwell
  • Amanda Maxwell – sixth in duo with Paige Nagy

Bowling Green State University
Participating schools included: Belmont University, Central Michigan University, Cornell University, Eastern Michigan University, Hillsdale College, Indiana University, Marietta College, Northwood University, Oberlin College, Ohio State University, Spring Arbor University, University of Kentucky, University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame, Western Kentucky University,

  • Amanda Maxwell and Paige Nagy, – third in duo interpretation
  • Amanda Maxwell – sixth in communication analysis
  • Paige Nagy – second in prose interpretation
  • Casey Stevens and Patty Rhinehart – fourth in duo interpretation
  • Marisa Lolli and Patty Rhinehart – sixth place in duo interpretation and top novice duo
  • Marisa Lolli – third in program oral interpretation and top novice prose
  • Sarah Varnell – sixth in program oral interpretation
  • Patty Rhinehart – also won top novice in dramatic interpretation
  • Darius Givens – top novice in after dinner speaking
  • Becca Yourko, Josh Campbell, Katrina Regier and Tim Woods also contributed points in preliminary rounds that resulted in a team award.

Team Sweepstakes: third Place Overall


Malone University, a Christian university for the arts, sciences, and professions in the liberal arts tradition, affiliated with the Evangelical Friends Church, awards both undergraduate and graduate degrees in more than 100 academic programs. Malone has been recognized by the prestigious Templeton Foundation as a leader in character development, as one of Northeast Ohio’s Top Workplaces by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and is ranked among the top colleges and universities in the Midwest under the category Regional Universities according to U.S. News & World Report's America's Best Colleges 2015 


Suzanne Thomas, APR
Director of University Relations
Malone University
2600 Cleveland Avenue N.W., Canton, OH, 44709
Phone: 330-471-8239
Cell: 330-324-2424

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