Welcome to the home page for the 2023 Gorlok Gala tournament hosted by Webster University on Jan 27-29, 2023 for College students.

Status: Tournament Completed



Saturday, January 28


7:00 Individual Events-Only Registration & Continental Breakfast

University Center-(Main Floor)


8:00 Extemp Draw:  EAB 102


8:15 Round 1, Individual Events “A”


9:45 Round 1, Individual Events “B”

Round 5, LD


11:00 Topic Announcement, Round 5 NPDA “Sunnen Lounge”

Round 6 LD


11:20 Round 5, NPDA


12:00  Lunch-St. Louis Fare, provided by Webster


12:45 Extemp Draw


1:00 Round 2, Individual Events “A”

Elim 1, LD


2:30 Round 2, Individual Events “B”

Topic Announcement, Elim 1 NPDA “Sunnen Lounge”


2:50 Elim 1, NPDA


4:15 Extemp Draw


4:30 Finals, Individual Events “A”

Elim 2, LD


5:45 Potential placeholder for debate if we need to run any partial elims.


Sunday, January 29 EAB Building @ Webster University


7:00 Continental Breakfast


8:15 Finals, Individual Events “B”

Elim 3, LD

Topic Announcement, Elim 2 NPDA “EAB 2nd Floor Commons”


8:35 Elim 2, NPDA


10:15ish Awards


ASAP Elim 4, LD


Dear Forensic Colleagues,


The Webster University forensic program, Missouri Omega chapter of Pi Kappa Delta, and School of Communications invite you to the 24th Gorlok Gala Forensic Tournament, to be held IN PERSON on Webster’s campus January 27-29, 2023. We will be offering the 11 AFA individual events, along with open, junior and novice divisions of NFA-LD and parliamentary debate. There will also be an open division of Public Forum debate.  In addition, we are pleased once again to offer duo improvisational pairs. Students may compete in both debate and individual events, although some restrictions on cross-over are in place to help create a healthier schedule and adapt to campus space constraints. We have worked to ensure that the days do not become laborious for those who choose to participate in only individual events or debate.  We do reserve the option of making last-minute schedule changes and apologize for the uncertainty and any inconvenience that may cause.


To help with planning and accommodating campus logistics, we must insist on meeting our Monday entry deadline. We have unique campus constraints that make the Monday deadline particularly imperative. WE ARE SERIOUS ABOUT TURNING AWAY LATE ENTRANTS.


There are several incentives to entice you into attending the Gorlok...


  • Our traditional pasta and salad bar Friday night, and our St. Louis Fare for Saturday lunch, featuring a collection of food unique to St. Louis, including Ted Drewes frozen custard, Fitz’s Root Beer, and more!
  • A very nice continental breakfast Saturday
  • A proverbial plethora of awards
  • An opportunity to visit and play in St. Louis  


We are also continuing two annual awards—a Webster Alumni Award and a Community Citizenship Award. Please see these descriptions in the invitation and consider submitting a nomination.


Please contact us with any questions. We hope to see each of you in St. Louis this winter for the Gorlok Gala!




Gina Jensen                                                                              Tom Serfass                                     John Wallis

Director of Forensics                                                               Assistant Director of Forensics  Forensic Assistant

Tournament Director                                                                                                                            


Garrett Dohlke


MO Omega Chapter of PKD


2023 Gorlok Gala Forensic Tentative Tournament Schedule


Thursday, January 26

6:30 – 10:00 pm                 Early Registration—Sheraton Hotels, location TBA


Friday, January 27

 8:30 – 11:30 am                Registration—Conference Room—University Center (Main Floor)

 9:30                                    Release of Debate Pairings (Rds 1 and 2)

10:00                                  Round 1, Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum

11:00                                  Round 2, Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum

12:30                                  Topic Announcement, Round 1 Parliamentary—Sunnen Lounge, UC

12:50                                   Round 1, Parliamentary

  2:00                                   Topic Announcement, Round 2 Parliamentary—Sunnen Lounge, UC

  2:20                                   Round 2, Parliamentary

  3:30                                   Round 3, Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum

  4:45                                  Topic Announcement, Round 3 Parliamentary—Sunnen Lounge, UC

  5:05                                  Round 3, Parliamentary

  5:30                                  Dinner—Pasta & Salad Bar, PROVIDED BY WEBSTER

  6:30                                   Round 4. Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum

  7:45                                   Topic Announcement, Round 4 Parliamentary—Sunnen Lounge, UC

  8:05                                   Round 4, Parliamentary


Saturday, January 28

  7:00                                  Individual Events-Only Registration & Continental Breakfast

                                           Sunnen Lounge—University Center (Main Floor)

  8:00                                  Extemp Draw—TBA

  8:15                                  Round 1, Individual Events “A”

  9:45                                  Round 1, Individual Events “B”, Round 5 LD, Elim 1 Public Forum

11:00                                  Topic Announcement, Round 5 Parliamentary—Sunnen Lounge, UC

11:20                                  Round 5, Parliamentary

12:00                                  St. Louis FARE, PROVIDED BY WEBSTER

12:45                                  Extemp Draw

  1:00                                  Round 2, Individual Events “A”, Round 6 LD

  2:30                                  Round 2, Individual Events “B” , Elim 2 Public Forum,

                                           Topic Announcement, Elimination Round 1 Parliamentary—Sunnen Lounge, UC

  2:50                                  Elimination Round 1, Parliamentary

  4:15                                  Extemp Draw

  4:30                                  Semi’s/Finals, Individual Events “A” +Semi’s B, Elimination Round 1, Lincoln-             Douglas

  5:45                                  Topic Announcement, Elimination Round 2 Parliamentary

  6:05                                   Elimination Round 2, Parliamentary


Sunday, January 29—Events to be Held on Webster’s Campus

  7:00                                   Continental Breakfast

  8:00                                   Extemp Draw—TBA 

  8:15                                   Remaining Individual Events Finals

                                            Elimination Round 2, Lincoln-Douglas

  9:45                                   Topic Announcement, Elimination Round 3 Parliamentary—TBA

10:05                                    Elimination Round 2, Parliamentary

11:30                                    Awards—TBA

12:45                                    Elimination rounds will continue, beginning with parliamentary debate.  Rounds             for each format will run concurrently if/when no student is entered in formats still           being scheduled. 


General Tournament Notes 

Tournament Hotel

The Sheraton Westport Plaza Tower 900 Westport Plaza will serve as the tournament hotel. The tournament rate is $129.00. The rate includes complimentary Internet in each guest room reserved through the block.


For reservations, click the link Book your group rate for Gorlok Gala or call (314) 878-1500 and ask for "Gorlok Gala" rates. Should you encounter problems, ask for Nancy, or call Gina Jensen at Webster. Our block will be released Thursday, January 5th!  PLEASE make your reservations early! Rates may well go up after this date!  Earlier reservations will also alert us to any need to increase the block prior to its cut-off date.



Awards will be presented to all students reaching elimination rounds--including duplicate awards for dramatic duo, improvisational pairs, public forum debate, and parliamentary debate. Pentathlon, debate speaker, and outstanding novice individual event awards will also be presented. Additionally, sweepstakes awards will be given to the top three teams in individual events, debate, and overall sweepstakes (a school must be entered in debate and individual events to be eligible for overall sweepstakes). Awards will also be given to the Pi Kappa Delta chapter and two-year school earning the most sweepstakes points.


Student Eligibility

Students must be currently enrolled at the college or university for which they are competing. Students may not have attended a collegiate national forensic/debate tournament in four or more academic years OR completed eight semesters of collegiate competition. A semester is defined as having competed in more than two tournaments. Either of these standards being met (eight semesters of college competition or four years of collegiate national tournament participation) will render a student ineligible to compete in this tournament.

Local Host Entries

Webster University may enter some events, although host entries will be very limited. Competing Webster students will be eligible for awards.


Points will be awarded to a school’s top three individual event entries per event and top six debate entries total (Lincoln-Douglas entries will count as half debate entries). ALL of a school's elimination round entries will count toward sweepstakes. The points system will be:


IEs                   3-2-1 for a 1, 2 or 3 rank in preliminary rounds

1 for all semifinalists

6-5-4-3-2-1 for 1st through 6th or 7th in finals

Debate                7 points per win, up to 4 wins per team/LD entry

7 points per advancement to elimination rounds for teams and LD entries



Fees and Judging

The tournament fees schedule is...

Friday participation fee (per student/judge)         $  10.00

Saturday participation fee (per student/judge)     $  10.00

IE entries (including duos)                                   $  10.00

Parliamentary debate teams                                  $  65.00

Public Forum debate teams                                  $  55.00

Lincoln-Douglas entries                                      $  40.00

Uncovered IE entries                                          $  10.00 plus entry fee

Uncovered parliamentary debate teams              $100.00 plus entry fee

Uncovered public forum debate teams               $  80.00 plus entry fee

Uncovered Lincoln-Douglas entries                   $  80.00 plus entry fee

Changes at registration                                       $  25.00 per change

Dropped judge after Thursday, January 26th       $100.00 per judge


One individual events judge will cover ten entries. One debate judge will cover two teams/L-D entries. A single judge may cover…

  • two parliamentary teams &/or two NFA-LD entries or two public forum teams
  • two NPDA teams &/or 10 IE entries
  • two NPDA teams &/or two public forum teams & 5 flight A only IE entries
  • a critic may not cover both NFA-LD and IE entries

For purposes of clarification, one NPDA team will require three rounds of coverage since an odd number of preliminary rounds are being offered. A single judge may not cover both L-D/public forum and flight B individual event entries. Schools needing to hire a substantial number of judges should contact the tournament director before tournament week.  PLEASE--we would rather have your judges. 


Special note regarding LD judges and uncovered LD entries…because of consistently having an overwhelming number of uncovered LD entries, we must insist at least half of any school’s LD entries are covered.  We will turn away entries not meeting this request.  For example, a school with 12 LD entries must provide at least three judges who are able to cover LD commitments; with only three judges we will not accept a 13th entry. There are absolutely no exceptions to this rule.


Entry Deadlines and Instructions

This year’s Gorlok is using the tournament entry services at www.forensictournament.net.  The invitation, tournament notes, and tournament entry are all located at this site. Search for Webster University Gorlok Gala.  Schools not using this service in the past will need to enter a roster of students and judges prior to entering the tournament. This site will also allow schools to view the entire tournament entry. All schools must submit entries on www.forensictournament.net. Entries will not be accepted in any other form.


Fees are assessed at 6:00 pm CST Tuesday, January 24th.  Direct questions to Gina Jensen at jensen@webster.edu.


                                                                Individual Events Notes



All 11 AFA-NST events plus improvisational pairs will be offered in two flights.

Flight A--extemp, persuasive, impromptu, dramatic, poetry, improvisational pairs

Flight B--prose, informative, poi, duo, after-dinner, communication analysis



AFA-NST rules will be followed for all events.  Students should not enter material that has been used in competition before September 1, 2022. 


Extemp topics will be taken from socio-political, international, and economic areas.  Each round will be one of these three.  In the instance that the tournament holds semifinals, final round topics will be editorial cartoons. For extemp draw, electronic access is allowed during draw; live Internet access is allowed. No extemper will be allowed access to electricity in the draw room as outlets are not readily available for all competitors.


Students in impromptu will have a choice of two topics that will vary by round and section.  Topics will be selected from philosophical quotations and song lyrics.


The event description for improvisational pairs is as follows:

Preparation time is three minutes. Preparation time is separate from performance time. Performance time must

be a minimum of three minutes and a maximum of six with a 30-second grace period. The judge should clarify

with the students before they begin how time signals will be communicated and must then give hand signals as

the contestants are performing to help them stay within the time limit. No make-up, costumes, props, or lighting

are permitted, but a table and/or two chairs may be used. Doors and walls are considered props and must not be

used. The scene must contain only two characters with equal sharing of dialogue. An introduction by one or both

students is REQUIRED to set the scene, and a resolution of the conflict must be evident at the end of the scene.

Excessive profanity, sexual innuendo, or excessive physicality (i.e. pushing, shoving, and striking) will not be

tolerated. Contestants are to remain outside of the room until it is their time to perform. Once they have finished

with their performance they must remain in the room until the round is complete.



We will be using electronic ballots. Judges should bring a device to use for filling out ballots. We suggest using

a laptop or tablet for ease of use. Judges are also reminded to use only Google Chrome as their browser. Judges

may submit their ballots electronically with ranks/rates and come back later and recall their ballots to write

comments if they find this necessary in order to keep the tournament on time.



Individual event competitors may enter up to three events per flight. We are, however, committed to running a tournament that stays on time. Critics will be instructed to not wait beyond the allotted ending time for each round.  A student may enter only two duos and two improvisational pairs.  We will make efforts to accommodate multiple entered students in flight A with early speaking positions in extemp. 


Students in Lincoln-Douglas may NOT enter IE’s.  Students in public forum or NPDA may enter flight A individual events ONLY and must compete in their individual event first if they advance to a conflicting elimination round. Students may not enter both Lincoln-Douglas and Public Forum.


Elimination Rounds

Semi-finals will be held in all events with 50 or more entries. Semi-final round brackets will be seeded into unbroken brackets.  Final place finishes will be determined based on (1) majority of 1's, (2) ranks, (3) judges' preference, (4) points, and (5) seedings.



In at attempt to reward diversity in competitive excellence, students must enter a minimum of four events and compete in public address, limited preparation, and interpretation events to be eligible for pentathlon.  A maximum of five events will count toward a student's pentathlon score. Duo Improvisation will count as a limited preparation or interpretation event. 


Novice Awards

The top novice in each AFA-NST event will be given a special award.  To be eligible, the student should be in his/her first collegiate year in the appropriate genre of event (public address, interpretation, or limited preparation).


IMPORTANT IE JUDGING NOTE:  In addition to the obligation of the final round in each flight, all judges are obligated for any semifinal rounds in either flight. Again, all individual event judges are obligated for final rounds, regardless of whether or not they are used in or qualify students for semi-final rounds.



Debate Notes


Divisions Defined

Any student may enter an open division. Junior division is open to students in their first four semesters of collegiate debate (of any kind). Novice division is open to students with less than two semesters of any debate at any level (high school or college).


NFA Lincoln-Douglas

An open, junior, and novice division of NFA Lincoln Douglas will be offered. Debates will use a 6-3-7-3-6-6-3 format with 4 minutes of preparation. We will use the 2022-23 NFA LD topic. All divisions will adhere to the NFA rules for Lincoln-Douglas debate.



An open, junior, and novice division of NPDA debate will be offered. Parliamentary rounds will follow suggested NPDA guidelines except where our tournament invitation outlines alternative procedures and policies.  In instances wherein NPDA rules are inconsistent with rules of other associations, NPDA rules will be enforced. We understand this will create circumstances in which this tournament is inconsistent with norms on other travel circuits. Because of the size of the tournament and limited room availability, there will not be assigned prep rooms. The 7-2-8-2-8-1-8-4-1-5 format will be followed with 20 minutes of pre-round preparation time. This includes allowing for flex time as described by NPDA. Electronic flowing IS allowed. Topics will be announced in a central chamber. VERY IMPORTANT…we are committed to a comprehensive forensic experience, which can create tension between a central NPDA topic announcement and an efficient, on-time schedule. It is imperative that debaters respect the schedule so announcements can start on time.  This means…

  • a two minute grace period, meaning 22 minutes after topics are announced time begins for each debate
  • teams not in their rooms, ready to debate, at the 22-minute point will be forfeited
  • critics not in their rooms within 22 minutes of topic announcement have their top seeded team forfeited from that given round
  • come immediately to topic announcement with time to spare so as to allow for on-time announcement
  • topics will be announced within five minutes of the return of the last ballot for the preceding round

Only the tournament invitation, NPDA constitution and by-laws, NPDA national tournament procedures, and materials prepared during the 20-minute preparation time period prior to the round may be brought into the debating chambers. There are no restrictions on pre-round coaching or consultation of materials during the preparation period.


Public Forum

An open division of public forum debate will be offered. The public forum division will utilize the College Public Forum League spring topic that was announced in the fall. Spring 2023: Resolved: Nations should adopt a carbon tax.  https://www.collegepublicforum.org/.  Rules and procedures can be found there.


Warm-Room, Breaking Brackets, and Sexual Harassment

The Gorlok Gala will have a warm room available during the tournament, meaning results will be posted for all formats and divisions. The tournament will not break brackets for elimination rounds. The tournament will adhere to the NPDA statement on sexual harassment, as well as the Pi Kappa Delta Statement on Discrimination.



We will be using electronic ballots.  Judges should bring a device to use for filling out ballots.  We suggest using 

a laptop or tablet for ease of use. Judges will want to use Google Chrome as their browser. Judges may submit

their ballots electronically with ranks/rates plus win/loss then and come back later and recall their ballots to write

comments if they find this necessary in order to keep the tournament on time; this early submission of results is

strongly encouraged for Friday morning and early afternoon rounds.


Elimination Rounds and Speaker Awards

Appropriate elimination rounds will be held in accordance with the standards of the national organizations sanctioning the respective debate divisions.  Teams/Debaters advancing will be determined and seeded based on (1) win/loss record, (2) adjusted points, (3) total points, (4) double adjusted total points, and (5) opposition record.  Brackets will not be broken.  All winning records will advance in all divisions. 

Speaker awards will be determined based on (1) adjusted points, (2) total points, (3) double adjusted points, (4) z-score, and (5) speaker ranks.  


Rounds will be power-matched beginning with round three.  Rounds three and five will be hi/hi while four and six will be hi/low within brackets.


Students in Lincoln-Douglas may not enter individual events. Students in public forum and NPDA may only enter flight A individual events and must compete in their individual event first if they advance to a conflicting elimination round. Students may not enter both Lincoln-Douglas and Public Forum. They ARE allowed to do LD or public forum and NPDA.

IMPORTANT DEBATE JUDGING NOTE:  In addition to the obligation of the first elimination round after the point at which a school’s competitors are eliminated, all judges are obligated for the first full elimination round for all formats in which they have debaters. If partial elimination rounds are held and a judge is assigned to that round, s/he remains obligated for the next elimination round.


Tournament Speech Statement


The Gorlok Gala affirms the importance of all tournament participants’ cooperation in creating an educational and competitive environment that is fair, humane and responsible while, at the same time, encouraging debates that are devoted to full and robust argument about a diverse range of ideas.  Specifically, this tournament affirms that:


1.         Judges and students are encouraged to talk about the expectations that they have for creating a debate that focuses on ideas instead of personal attacks.


2.         Debaters are encouraged to communicate with respect, not attacking each other or the judge.


3.         Judges are encouraged to communicate with respect, not attacking or devaluing students.


4.         Debaters and judges are encouraged to reject discourse which devalues other members of our community

based on their race, age, gender, [ability], class, sexual or religious orientation or any reason that is not directly related to the arguments that they present.


5.         Students and judges are encouraged to communicate with each other when they observe instances of

            verbally aggressive attacks rather than silently watching something happen before them to which they



6.         Judges are encouraged to reward courteous and respectful behavior toward the judge and other

            competitors in awarding speaker points.


7.         If serious and/or repeated demeaning speech materially or substantially disrupts the opportunity for

debaters to compete fairly or the judge to evaluate fairly, judges are encouraged to dock speaker points or give a team a loss.


Bartanen, K. & Hanson, J.  (1994). Advocating humane discourse.  The Forensic of Pi Kappa Delta, 80, 16-22.


Land Acknowledgement Statement

It is important for us here at Webster University, in alignment with our mission to enrich lives and build community through communication, to acknowledge that the land beneath us owes its vitality to generations who have come before us. In the spirit of making erased and silenced histories visible, Webster Forensics and Debate chooses to learn about, come to terms with, and share the truth of Westward Expansion. Webster Forensics acknowledges its community spaces rest on the traditional land of Indigenous People that have stewarded and cared for this land for centuries. We acknowledge that we are standing on the ancestral and occupied lands of the Illini Confederacy, Osage Nation and the Myaamia, Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, O-ga-xpa   Ma-zho (Quapaw), Kaskaskia, Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo), and Missouria tribes. They are the peoples to whomwe pay our respects. We acknowledge that this land was stolen and acquired through a history of violence. While Webster remains on these lands, we will attempt to do honor to their histories and ask you to join us in uncovering such histories at any and all public in-person and virtual events. We encourage you to learn more about Indigenous communities and land where you live and to honor those who made their homes on this land before us."


Webster Outstanding Forensic Alumni Award

An annual award will be presented each year to an alumna of the Webster University forensic and debate program. The winner will be selected from a list of nominees submitted by any individual familiar with the Webster forensic program. Nominees should be past members of the Webster University forensic and debate program and be committed to forensics as important life-preparation. This commitment should be a focus of any nomination for the award.

 Nominations should include identification of the potential award winner, as well as a letter of support. There is no limit to the volume of support material that will be accepted in support of a single nomination.

2013—Ryan Louis

2014—Deanna Beaton

2015—Jason Roach

2016—Kim Runnion

2017—Melissa Benton & Justin Raymundo

2018—Sierra Weber

2019---Andy Hobin

2020---Kirby Weber

2021—Shawn Hoover

2022—John Wallis


Community Forensic Citizenship Award

An annual award will be presented each year to a non-student member of the forensic community who advances the benefits of forensics in the broadest of terms. This should include but is not limited to outstanding teaching/coaching and service.


Nominations should include an identification of the potential award winner as well as a letter of support. There is no limit to the volume of support material that will be accepted in support of a single nomination.


2013—Robert Markstrom, McNeese State University

2014—John Boyer, Lafayette College

2015—Kevin Minch, Truman State University

2016—Phillip Voigt, Gustavus Adolphus College

2017—M’Liss Hindman, Tyler Junior College & Scott Jensen, Webster University

2018—Gary Harmon, Kansas Wesleyan

2019—Jack Rogers, University of Central Missouri

2020—Richard Paine, North Central College

2021—Jeannie Hunt, Northwest College & Connie McKee, West Texas University

2022—Danny Cantrell, Mt. San Antonio College


Nomination Procedures

Nominations should be submitted to Gina Jensen at jensen@webster.edu. All nominations should be received by Monday, January 16, 2023 to receive full consideration. Community Forensic Citizenship Award nominating packets will be distributed to a reading committee of intercollegiate forensic educators. Webster Outstanding Forensic Alumni Award nominating packets will be distributed to a reading committee of Webster alumni, students, and non-forensic faculty. Both awards will be presented at the Gorlok awards ceremony.