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Texas State University

Department News & Updates

Texas State Hosts 33rd Annual Hill Country Swing

Forensics Team
Forensics Team: Aaron Delgado, Ashton Rios, Abby Robertson, Johnny Vasallo, & Theo Januski

The LBJ Debate Society and Elton Abernathy Forensics Society of Texas State University hosted the 33rd Annual Hill Country Swing Invitational Speech Tournament. The Hill Country Swing is a tournament that is hosted jointly with the University of Texas. This year’s tournament was hosted virtually.

The University of Texas at Austin took home the championship for the Texas State-hosted portion of the tournament, with the University of Alabama finishing second and Rice University placing third. The Bobcats finished fourth on the first day.

The tournament logistics and tabulation team was headed by Jeremy Hutchins with the assistance of M.A. students Tyshee Sonnier, Dillon McCoy, Jaelyn Ashford, and Tyler Cole. 

Prof. Ann Burnette served as a judge for the tournament. Also judging the tournament were graduate students Samantha Perez and Terrianna Singletary. 

Several alums joined virtually to judge including Justin Blacklock, Joseph Bahr, Matthew Anderson, Tony-Lydia McKinney, Ben Swenson-Weiner, Miguel Porfirio, Sebastian Frost, and Goyland Williams. 

Ja’Quacy Minter from the University of Alabama finished as the top speaker in the tournament with Evan Ortiz and Carli Hall from UT placing second and third respectively.

For Texas State, Abby Robertson placed second in Communication Analysis and fifth in Poetry Interpretation. Ashton Rios finished third in Program Oral Interpretation and Johnny Vasallo placed third in Poetry Interpretation. 

During the second day of the tournament, hosted by the University of Texas, the Bobcats fielded a full entry and finished second behind the University of Alabama. Rice University placed third.

The following Bobcats placed in the UT-hosted portion of the tournament:

  • Aaron Delgado: 7th in Extemporaneous speaking; 3rd in Impromptu speaking; and 2nd in Persuasion.
  • Theo Januski: 4th in Informative Speaking.
  • Ashton Rios: 5th in Program Oral Interpretation; and 1st in Prose.
  • Abby Robertson: 2nd in Communication Analysis; 4th in Poetry; and 4th in Program Oral Interpretation.
  • Ashlyn Trokey: 4th in Extemporaneous speaking; and 4th in Impromptu speaking.
  • Johnny Vasallo: 5th in Impromptu speaking; 2nd in Poetry; and 4th in Prose. 

The next competition will be a virtual tournament hosted by James Madison University and George Mason University in Virginia.

Faculty Accolades

Michael Burns Olympics

Michael Burns gave a presentation titled, "Backstage at the Olympics: It's All About Communication" for the School of Communication Studies at Ohio University. This was the opening presentation for the alumni speakers series the university is hosting this semester.