Forensics team director finishes strong

Jennie Kushner

The University of Alabama has another victory to add to the list as the Forensic Team placed eighth out of 80 universities that competed in this month’s American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament.

Students compete in 11 events and are judged on the ability to present strong, well-developed arguments, clear points of view and the use of effective communication skills.

David Kumbroch, a senior majoring in telecommunication and film, won his second national title in Extemporaneous Speaking, beating out 124 others.

Kumbroch said the team has been a huge part of his college experience due to its tight-knit family atmosphere.

“It’s a great jumping off point for everything I want to do,” he said. “Competition was really thrilling.  I won my second AFA national championship in Extemporaneous Speaking, and it was nice to go out on top.”

Director of Forensics and Associate Professor of Communication Studies Frank Thompson said Kumbroch was selected to be a member of the AFA-NIET All-American Team.

“He was one of only 14 in the nation selected for this honor,” Thompson said.              “This the tenth straight year that UA has had a member of this team,” he said.  “In fact, UA is the only university in the country that has had a student on this team [every year the team has existed].”

Thompson has been involved with the program for 31 years and has seen much development.

“I started out with three individual events competitors and we now have an average of 30 students each year,” he said.

Thompson will retire this year.

Thaddeus Fitzpatrick, a junior majoring in theater and communication studies, placed fourth out of 135 speakers in Program Oral Interpretation, and he said he feels lucky to be a part of the team.

“Being on this team is truly an honor,” Fitzpatrick said. “No words can describe the love I have for my teammates and coaches. I thank God that Dr. Frank Thompson, our retiring director, saw enough in me to put me on this team, because not only can I not imagine my college experience without forensics, but I can’t imagine my life without everyone associated with this team. I can honestly say this team made me a better thinker, performer and person,” he said.

Thompson said he’s confident that the University will continue to be a top five or 10 school each year after his three decade run.

“Our new director of forensics will be Bobby Imbody, coming from Kansas State University, and the assistant director of forensics will be Chas Womelsdrof, coming from LSU,” he said.

Joe Garmon, a senior majoring in political science, said being part of the team has been one of his most rewarding aspects of his undergraduate career.

“One of the greatest aspects of our team is that we focus less on individual success and more on the group’s successes,” he said. “Being a part of the Forensics Council for the past three years has changed the course of my life. This is one of the most diverse bodies on campus, [and] we are also one of the most inclusive.”