Gorlok Gala Debate Tournament Declared a Success

Jan. 28, 2014

ST. LOUIS (Jan. 28, 2014) - The Webster Forensic and Debate program hosted a successful Gorlok Gala tournament this past weekend. An estimated 450 people from 44 schools, representing 13 states, attended the 16th Gala, an annual comprehensive tournament offering multiple forms of debate, performance, and speaking events. The tournament has become one of the largest and most prestigious in the country.

“A number of students who compete at the Gorlok will go on to finish among the elite at several national tournaments this spring. A number of programs recognize our tournament as an important event to attend in order to prepare their students for the highly competitive post-season tournament schedule,” noted Scott Jensen, Director of Forensics at Webster and director of the Gorlok Gala. Gina Jensen, Assistant Director of Forensics, and Tom Serfass, Assistant Forensic Coach also assisted in direction of the tournament. Additionally, several forensic educators and alumni from across the country served as guest tournament staff members.

The event ran from Friday through Sunday, with full days of competition on the Webster campus Friday and Saturday. Sunday’s final rounds are held at the Sheraton Westport Plaza hotel. An estimated 403 and a half hours of speaking, performing, and debating took place throughout the weekend. Nearly 350 awards were presented to students who competed in 15 different event. Western Kentucky University won the overall sweepstakes championship. Cedarville University, Marshall University, Hillsdale College, and Harper College each won other team competitions. The 44 school field included eight schools attending the Gorlok for the first time. A total of 108 colleges and universities have attended this tournament at some point during its 16 year history.

The tournament also brings together individuals from the campus community and the forensic program’s alumni network. Typically 20 or more forensic alumni will involve themselves with this tournament as staff members, assistants in the planning process, and judges during the competition. A number of Webster students and staff also served as judges during the three-day event. “We could not host a tournament of this size without incredible community support,” said Jensen. “Our alumni network is one of the best in the forensic community. And the Webster community always comes through with rooms, judging, and support for the tournament itself. We are blessed to have a community that supports us to such a great degree,” Jensen added.

One other note for this year’s Gorlok Gala is the highlight it provided for its tournament director. This year’s Gorlok was the 300th tournament Scott Jensen has directed or assisted with directing in his 28+ year teaching career. “Scott has directed tournaments ranging in size from small high school events to large national events. Most of these tournaments are ones he is asked to help direct by hosts from other schools,” explained Gina Jensen, Assistant Director of Forensics. Scott inaugurated the Gorlok in his first year at Webster. Gina observed, “Scott grew the Gorlok to be one of the most important tournaments in the country. 300 tournaments is a testament to not only longevity but also dedication to service, and his reputation as one of our community’s best tournament administrators.”

The team’s next hosted event is its annual Trivia Night Saturday, March 1st. They will begin their own post-season on Valentine’s weekend when they travel to the University of Central Missouri for the Missouri state tournament. Their national tournament is March 20-23 at Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis.