Alabama Forensic Council Finishes 4th at 2019 NIET

Apr 12, 2019

The Alabama Forensic Council celebrates a fourth-place finish at the AFA-NIET in Tuscaloosa.
The Alabama Forensic Council celebrates a fourth-place finish at the AFA-NIET in Tuscaloosa.

The Alabama Forensic Council finished in fourth place at the 2019 American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament (NIET) this past weekend in Tuscaloosa. This marks the third consecutive year that the Alabama Forensic Council has placed in the top five teams in the nation and UA’s third time hosting.

The tournament featured over 400 students from 60 schools and is centered around facilitating and celebrating speech education excellence at the intercollegiate level. The NIET is held every April and brings students from across the nation to compete for national championships in 11 events. Students reach the NIET through a rigorous at-large and district qualification system verified by organizational officers.

“It was a great honor for our program to serve as the hosts of this event and for our students to succeed the way they did. Most importantly, every student competing this past weekend earned points toward our team finish,” said Bobby Imbody, director of forensics at The College of Communication and Information Sciences (C&IS). “Being able to host our colleagues from around the country, show them our beautiful campus and earn fourth place as a team is a feat we will cherish for years in our program. This group is special and accomplished a great deal this season.”

In addition to placing fourth overall, the Alabama Forensic Council had its most successful tournament yet in terms of students advancing to elimination rounds 14 of 25, the number of overall events advancing to elimination rounds, 28, and the overall number of events in final rounds, 12. Among University of Alabama top finishers, senior Alexis Simmons (Montgomery) earned the National Championship in Poetry Interpretation, and senior McLean Stewart (Montgomery) earned the national championship in After Dinner Speaking and was named to the AFA-NIET All-American Team. Additionally, Danielle Pacia (Morristown, TN) finished second in Informative Speaking.

“With instruction from some of the most outstanding coaches, the speech I presented at the National Tournament was the culmination of months of research, draft edits and performance improvements,” said Stewart. “Preparing for the tournament was a challenging and rewarding process. Delivering my speech one last time in the final round, hearing my name announced next to the words ‘National Champion,’ and receiving such warm support from the crowd are moments I will never forget.”

Individual results:

Alexis Simmons          3rd Place Overall speaker

Danielle Pacia            11th Place Overall Speaker

McLean Stewart         13th Place Overall Speaker


National Champions through 6th place = National Finalist

Semi-Finalist = top-12

Quarter-Finalist = top-24


Pearce Barringer – Montgomery, AL

6th Place Extemporaneous Speaking

Currie Blackwell – Petal, MS

Quarter-Finalist Poetry Interpretation

Danielle Pacia  -Morristown, TN

2nd Place Informative Speaking

4th Place Communication Analysis

4th Place Duo Interpretation with Alexis Simmons

Semi-Finalist Communication Analysis

Quarter-Finalist Impromptu Speaking

Alexis Simmons – Montgomery, AL

National Champion Poetry Interpretation

3rd Place Informative Speaking

4th Place Prose Interpretation

4th Place Duo Interpretation with Danielle Pacia

Semi-Finalist Dramatic Interpretation

McLean Stewart – Montgomery, AL

National Champion After-Dinner Speaking

5th Place Informative Speaking

Semi-Finalist Extemporaneous Speaking

Quarter-Finalist Impromptu Speaking


Madison Hall – Montgomery, AL

6th Place Dramatic Interpretation

Semi-Finalist Persuasive Speaking

Quarter-Finalist Program Oral Interpretation

Caitlin Lofton – New Orleans, LA

5th Place Dramatic Interpretation

Quarter – Finalist Prose Interpretation

Jordan Taylor – Charlottesville, VA

Semi-Finalist After-dinner Speaking

Quarter-Finalist Program Oral Interpretation

Sydney Terry – Bulls Gap, TN

Quarter-Finalist Duo Interpretation with Isaiah McDermott

Quarter-Finalist Persuasive Speaking


Emma Capitanelli – Collierville, TN

Quarter-Finalist Communication Analysis

Isaiah McDermott – Morristown, TN

Quarter-Finalist Duo Interpretation with Sydney Terry

Cortland Stone – Poland, OH

5th Place Communication Analysis

First-Year Students:

Anna Kutbay – Morristown, TN

Semi-Finalist Persuasive Speaking

Quarter-Finalist Extemporaneous Speaking

Elizabeth Tagg – Tyler, TX

Quarter-Finalist Program Oral Interpretation

Founded in 1946, the Alabama Forensic Council is the oldest co-curricular organization at The University of Alabama. The Alabama Forensics Council boasts 21 forensic national championships and is housed by the College of Communication and Information Sciences and is open to UA students of all academic disciplines.