Bradley Speech Team Wins American Forensic Association Individual Events Tournament

April 9, 2012

Talking the Talk

By Frank Radosevich II

Bradley swept the competition this weekend at the national American Forensic Association tournament in San Marcos, Texas, placing first in both the overall team and individual categories.

The impressive showing comes as no surprise as the University's forensic team consistently ranks in national championships and is regarded as one of the top programs in the country. This is the 21st AFA national title won by Bradley students since 1980.

Bradley scored a whopping 501.5 points for the win, giving the team a strong lead over second-place winner University of Texas, with 425 points, and third-place Western Kentucky University, with 413.5 points.

Junior Jacoby Cochran placed first in the overall individual sweepstakes competition, awarded to the individual who garners the most points after competing in at least four events. Cochran, a philosophy major, also won first places in the categories of critical analysis and duo interpretation with his partner Justin Restaino, a junior majoring in communications. 

"I'm extremely excited that we won. It has been a honor to be on this team and under these coaches," Cochran said, adding that the University's team was his reason for attending Bradley. "This was a team win, a collective effort."

Along with Cochran, five other Bradley students ranked in the individual sweepstakes. They are: Cecil Blutcher, junior, sixth place, who also was individual champion in poetry; Camille Yameen, senior, seventh place; Junior Ocasio, junior, 16th place; Blake Longfellow, senior, 19th place and Cate Cosme, senior, 20th place.

Coach Dan Smith said this year's team viewed Bradley's long string of victories as asset to leverage and not as a burden to carry. Members reached out to the team's alumni network for advice and pointers as they prepared for the competition. The unofficial motto for the group was "Two in '12", meaning the group sought to win the two major national speech tournaments this year.

"I am so humbled and proud of my team. We always kept the national tournament in our minds," said Yameen, who is the team's student president. "We just kept reminding each other every time we met. Two in '12; two in '12."

The Speech Team will compete next week in the National Forensic Association Championship Tournament at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

Smith said he was awed by the dedication of the students. He announced earlier this year that he would be stepping down from coaching after working with the team for 17 years.

"It was incredibly satisfying. That's a heck of a way to go out," Smith said of the win. As for the goal of "Two in '12", he said the team is well on its way to hitting that target.

"We are halfway there," Smith said.

The Bradley University Speech Team won the American Forensic Association championship tournament held April 6-9, 2012, in San Marcos, Texas.  The team scored 501.5 points for the win.  Second place winner with 425 points was University of Texas and Western Kentucky University received third place with 413.5 points.

Bradley received six of the 20 individual sweepstake places:

#1 Jacoby Cochran
#6 Cecil Blutcher
#7 Camille Yameen
#16 Junior Ocasio
#19 Blake Longfellow
#20 Cate Cosme

National Championship titles and top places in individual events:

Poetry:  #1 Cecil Blutcher
Critical Analysis: #1 Jacoby Cochran, #3 Rebi Roos, #5 Ryan Tinlin
Duo: #1 Jacoby Cochran and Justin Restaino, #5 Ryan Tinlin and Cecil Blutcher
Prose:  #2 Camille Yameen
Informative:  #4 AJ Curry, #5 Camille Yameen
Persuasion:  #5 Blake Longfellow,

Team coaches are Dan Smith, who was recognized by AFA for his distinguished years of service, and Michael Chen.

Bradley won the AFA national championship 1980-1993, 1996-2000, 2010 and 2012.