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Malone University Forensic team members Criswell and Meyer are national champions

March 14, 2014 | Release # 6872

Forensic Champs

The Malone University forensics team recently returned from national competition at the National Christian College Forensics Tournament held this past weekend at California Baptist University. The team competed in a field of 250 students from 26 universities in 16 states participating, including Belmont, Liberty, Cedarville, Azusa Pacific, Biola, and Howard Payne universities, among others.

Rachel Criswell, a freshman early childhood education major from Chagrin Falls, Ohio; and Alicia Meyer, a sophomore communication arts major from Defiance, Ohio, earned multiple national titles. The two won second place overall team in division III (for small-sized entries).

Alicia Meyer took first place in novice faith literature. The event combines different sources of literature (prose, poetry, drama) into a thematic program with multiple characters. Her program, Hide and Seek, shared messages of hiding from and being sought by God. She included scripture as well as three distinct stories of struggle and redemption.

Alicia Meyer also won first place in novice communication analysis. This is an original speech that is researched and written by the student. It analyzes an artifact through the lens of a rhetorical theory. Alicia analyzed the "true love" depicted between sisters in the animated movie Frozen, using the love and intimacy theory developed by Elaine Hatfield and Richard Rapson of the University of Hawaii.

Rachel Criswell won first place in novice after dinner speaking. This is an original speech that is researched and written by the student that takes a humorous look at a meaningful topic. Rachel investigated the Christian university phenomenon of "Ring by Spring" and provided true data and hilarious critique.

Rachel Criswell also won second place in novice program oral interpretation. This event combines different sources of literature around a unified theme. Rachel portrayed numerous characters including a child, carnival "freak," Medusa and a slam poet on the theme of Monster Pride, sharing the message that we should embrace the qualities of social outcasts within ourselves.

Together, Rachel and Alicia won second in novice duo interpretation. They chose to combine literature and characters to share the message that while feminism gave women more opportunities, individual choices are not always equally respected. The film Mona Lisa Smile, a speech to the United Nations by Neelie Kroes, and articles by Alex Blackie and Amy Glass juxtaposed thoughtful views on career and motherhood with the theme Feminism: Freedom or Fallacy.

Other tournament awards achieved this year by the small team include:

February 21-22 at Bowling Green State University with 14 universities attending

Rachel Criswell – fifth place in Program Oral Interpretation with Monster Pride; fourth place in duo along with Alicia Meyer with Feminism: Freedom or Fallacy; top novice competitor in both events.

February 7-8 at Wilkes University (PA) with 10 universities attending

Rachel Criswell – second in duo with Feminism: Freedom or Fallacy; third in prose with the story 13 Reasons (about a young woman's depression and ultimate suicide)

Alicia Meyer – first in communication analysis with Frozen; second in duo; fourth in poetry with the theme Pretty Pathetic that interrogates society's obsession with appearances

Together, Rachel and Alicia earned enough points to win fifth overall team sweepstakes among all the schools attending.

November 22-23 at Bowling Green State University with 15 universities attending

Rachel Criswell – third in program oral interpretation with Monster Pride

November 1-2 at Marietta College with 14 universities attending

Rachel Criswell – first in prose; fourth in duo with Lauren Liehr with Superman, written by Malone University alumnus Jake Thomas

Alicia Meyer – second in poetry with Pretty Pathetic

All members of the forensics team also volunteered their time to judge area high school speech tournaments.

Other student competitors this season were:

  • Joshua Campbell, a junior mathematics major from Mount Vernon, Ohio
  • Jeremy Howdyshell, a sophomore liberal arts major from Zanesville, Ohio
  • Lauren Liehr, a freshman Bible and theology major from Akron, Ohio
  • Brooke Smalley, a senior business administration major from Titusville, Penn.

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 2014,has been awarded the designation Military Friendly School by Victory Media, and is named to AffordableCollegesOnline (ACO)’s Best Lifetime Return on Investment list for the State of Ohio.


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

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