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Back to the Nest pt 1

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General information

This is a College tournament in Illinois.

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Dear Friends,

The Illinois State University Forensics Union and the Illinois State Forensics Alumni are pleased to invite you and your team to participate in the fifth annual and third virtual Back to the Nest Swing on September 30 and October 1, 2023 – teams are welcome to join us either in-person or on Zoom both Saturday and Sunday.  This year’s theme is Barbie’s Dream Nest.

Founded in 1857, the ISU Forensics Union is the oldest student organization at Illinois State University.  We have a long history of recruiting bright and capable members – our roster boasts Abraham Lincoln (debate judge and honorary alumnus), UN Ambassadors, actors, journalists, doctors, lawyers and education professionals.  Our alumni continue to embody Illinois State’s motto, “Gladly we Learn and Teach,” and created this tournament to be an opportunity to bring these Redbirds “Back to the Nest” and re-connect with the speech circuit.  Our hope is that we can provide you with valuable fall semester ballots and maybe connect you with ISU alumni in your area who can be an ongoing resource.  We sincerely hope you will join us in this endeavor.

The “Back to the Nest” offers you and your students quality Open and Novice competition in all AFA and NFA Individual Events.  This invitation should provide all of the necessary tournament information, but please call or email if we can be of any further assistance.

We hope to see you (and your pink suits and ties) in a few weeks!


Megan Koch
Director Forensics
Class of 2003

Ryan Tinlin

Asst Director IE

Robi Mahan

IE Coach

Class of 2015

Nick Steinmetz
IE Coach
M.A. 2023

Raechel Zoellick
Graduate Coach

Class of 2023

David Valadez

Graduate Coach

Mycah Butler

Graduate Coach

Class of 2022





Participants should be enrolled undergraduate students and members of their school’s forensics team.  Students may enter as many events as they would like, with no limit on team entries; however for schools with larger entries we may have to artificially move students to utilize school judges. 


Entries:   Each student may enter a maximum of six events; no more than three per grouping.  There is no limit on the amount of entries a school may enter per event; however, for schools with larger entries we may have to artificially move competitors to utilize judges from that school.  The deadline for receiving entries for both halves is Tuesday, September 26 at 5:00pm Central.  No adds will be accepted after this time.  Drops will be accepted after the deadline without penalty until 12:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 27.  Entries should be uploaded to Speechwire.


Competition:    Competition will be hybrid; teams may join us either on the Illinois State campus or online via Zoom.  Please indicate whether students will be participating in person or online in your Speechwire registration (or shoot us an email).

Entry Fees - Entry fees are $9.00 per entry slot (no additional charge for entering quadrathon).  A nuisance fee of $6.00 per slot will be added to the original entry fee for every drop after 12:00pm on Wednesday, September 27.  No-shows on the day of the tournament may be charged a $15.00 nuisance fee per slot in addition to the original entry fee.  Please communicate with the tournament staff as quickly as possible in the event of illness or emergency the day of the tournament. 


Judges - Each school should furnish one judge for every six slots.  Hired judges are available at $12.00 per uncovered slot.  Judges dropped after the Wednesday, 12:00 p.m. deadline will result in a nuisance fee of $25.00 each plus the additional cost of hiring a judge.  ALL fees are assessed as of 12:00 p.m., Wednesday, September 27.   Due to the difficulties of maintaining a pool of high-quality hired judges, we strongly encourage every school to bring at least one judge.  To help with this, judges may participate virtually for both halves of the tournament (but keep in mind schools are responsible for ensuring that their judges have the availability and technology to participate – missed rounds will be charged a nuisance fee). All “full-time” judges are on standby for finals - as always, we will make every effort to collapse final rounds to a single flight if the judging pool allows.


Quadrathon:  Students entered in at least four events including at least two different genres (interpretation / public address / limited preparation) will be eligible for the Quadrathon awards.  Novice finals will not count toward open Quadrathon, but if entries warrant we will present Novice Individual Sweepstakes awards.


Novice Events:  A separate novice division will be created in each individual event where we have at least 11 novice entries. A novice is a student who is in their first year of collegiate competition OR has competed in three or fewer collegiate tournaments OR is a competitor for a community college or 2-year school.


Sectioning:   We will use Speechwire to take all entries, section rounds, assign judges and tabulate scores. 


Awards:  The top six contestants in each event will advance to open finals and receive awards.  The top three Quadrathon entries will receive awards based on final rounds. Sweepstakes trophies will be awarded to the top five schools, and an award will be presented for Limited Entry Sweepstakes (if entries warrant, the top three limited entry schools will receive awards).  In open finals, winning first place earns 12 points…and sixth place earns two points.  Other open finalists, and all open semifinalists, will earn 1 point each. In novice final rounds, winning first place earns 6 points … and sixth place earns 1 point.   Awards will be mailed to teams - please ensure that your mailing address is correct in Speechwire.


Judging blocks: Students are welcome to request no-questions-asked judge blocks.  Please email Megan Koch (mkoch@ilstu.edu) to report blocks.  Judge lists will be released on Speechwire the week of the tournament. 


Illinois State Competitors:  Illinois State may compete with a limited entry on Sunday. 


General:   All programs and speeches must not have been used in competition prior to September 1, 2022.   A novice is a student who is in their first year of collegiate competition OR has competed in three or fewer collegiate tournaments OR is a community college competitor. Competitors must be undergraduates working on their first degree.   NFA event descriptions will be used for all events; both tournaments will use AFA-style speaker points and tie breaks (except majority of 1s in finals).  

Impromptu:  “Prompts will include ideas that can be comprehended and interpreted quickly such as quotations, both actual (from history or contemporary culture) and fictional (from movies, plays, novels etc.), song lyrics, proverbs, etc."  We will not use images or objects in Impromptu. 

Extemp:   Topic areas may include, but are not limited to: Domestic Politics, Domestic Social, International or Domestic Economics, International Hotspots, Hypotheticals or Social Justice Issues.




Extemporaneous Speaking

Informative Speaking

Persuasive Speaking

Impromptu Speaking

Prose Interpretation

Dramatic Interpretation

Program Oral Interpretation

Communication Analysis

After Dinner Speaking

Poetry Interpretation


Duo Interpretation



TENTATIVE SCHEDULE  (any changes will be noted on the Speechwire schedule). 


Part 1 (In-person / Zoom hybrid competition) September 30, 2023  All times are Central.   Finals will be collapsed if the judging pool allows.

9:00 am


9:30 am

Extemp Draw

10:00 am  

Round 1A (Ext, Per, Pro, POI, ADS)

11:15 am

Extemp Draw

11:45 am

Round 2A

1:00 pm

Lunch break

2:00 pm

Round 1B (Imp, Poe, Info, CA, DI, Duo)

3:15 pm

Round 2B

4:30 pm

Extemp Draw

4:45 pm

Finals A 

5:00 pm

Finals Extemp

6:00 pm

Finals B*



Part 2 (In-person / Zoom hybrid competition) October 1, 2023  All times are Central.  

Please note we start an hour earlier on Sunday.  Finals will be collapsed if the judging pool allows.

8:00 pm


8:30 pm

Extemp Draw

9:00 pm

Round 1A  (Ext, Per, Pro, POI, ADS)

10:15 pm

Extemp Draw

10:45 pm

Round 2A

12:00 pm

Lunch break

1:00 pm

Round 1B  (Imp, Poe, Info, CA, DI, Duo)

2:15 pm

Round 2B

3:30 pm

Extemp Draw

3:45 pm

Finals A

4:00 pm

Finals Extemp

5:00 pm

Finals B


Awards – TBD


Manager contact information

Megan Koch
Email address: mkoch@ilstu.edu
Phone number: 309-438-8447

Mailing address

Campus Box 4480
Normal, IL 61790

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