Forensics Team On Winning Streak: Mason’s Legendary Speakers on Fire; Team Maintains Victory at Competitions

by   Posted on October 27th, 2009 in Uncategorized

Brenda Shepard, Staff Writer

If you are ever walking around Thompson Hall, you may see students pacing and talking to themselves. No, these students are not confused – they are practicing.

These students are members of the George Mason University’s Forensics Team, one of the most successful and long standing groups on campus.

For almost 40 years, the team has produced numerous trophies, national championships and graduates who go on to even greater accomplishments.

According to their website,, the team has “produced no less than 35 national champions, and in 2002 we won our 14,000th trophy.”

However, for Peter Pober, communication professor and director of the Mason Forensics team, “It’s much bigger than the trophy.”

The forensics team competes against approximately 400 schools across the country. Larger competitions have seen between 1,200 and 1,400 student entries, with about 100 students in each category.

Mason’s competitors work diligently to prepare for these competitions, mentally preparing to stand and deliver.

When asked if members of the team feel a great deal of pressure, Pober said, “I think they do – mostly from themselves. They have tremendous pride in the legacy of the Mason name.”

But by far the greatest successes as a team is what graduates are doing for others in their communities now.

One example Pober gave was of a former student who graduated and went on to become a major contributor to the HIV/AIDS campaign in Africa.

During reunions, which the team has about every 10 years, former members can come together with current students and are very open about how being on the Forensics Team has helped them in their lives.
The biggest problem the team has faced is that they have nearly doubled in size this year, going from about 22 students to 36.

With all of their recent success, the team was able to bring in a very large and competitive recruiting class.
“It makes it tough to give each student one-on-one time with the coaches, but students have stepped up and have been helping each other even more,” said Pober.

Comprised entirely of Mason students, the team requires each member to audition not only their first year, but every fall as well, to ensure that they are focused and ready for the coming year.

“[Strong competitors] should be dedicated [and] realize that these skills will transfer to other academic areas and have a willingness to submerge themselves into the process,” said Pober.

The work required to be successful can be long and difficult, but students give their all.

Students participate in competitions throughout the year in hopes of gaining entry into three separate final rounds.

In these final rounds, they must have a combined record of no lower than eighth place in order to be invited to the National Tournament at the end of the year.

This year, the National Tournament will be held at the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire.
Before then, these students’ speeches go through about 30 drafts.

However, there will be many opportunities for the team to practice their speeches, including their upcoming, competition, in Peoria, Ill., to keep them up to par.

Any student interested in joining the Forensics Team should first check out their website to learn about the team, history and events.

Audition pieces can be a previous speech or performance, or simply five minutes of talking about themselves.

Students should contact Peter Pober at to set up an audition.

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