Focus on Ethan Loewi: the First Sports Broadcasting Champion of the National Individual Events Tournament of Champions

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1972: University of Kentucky’s Tournament of Champions (Debate)

2003: Northwestern University’s Tournament of Champions (Extemporaneous Speaking)

2010: National Individual Events Tournament of Champions

Finally, the full spectrum of Forensics has been represented at National Tournament of Champions (TOC) competitions.  The original Kentucky TOC, begun by J.W. Patterson of The University of Kentucky, was founded on the principle of bringing together the finest in Debate from across America.  The TOC has since become one of the largest National competitions and of the highest prestige.  Years after Kentucky’s TOC founding, Northwestern University expanded upon the idea and created a TOC focused on Extemporaneous Speaking--with Impromptu as a supplemental event.

2010, however, marks the beginning of a complete TOC circuit.  The inaugural National Individual Events Tournament of Champions (NIETOC) was held on May 14th through the 16th in Fullerton, California.  Sponsored by Western Kentucky University and Bradley University, the NIETOC offers competition in the main events of Humorous Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation, Duo Interpretation, Duet Acting, and Original Oratory; supplemental events include Prose, Poetry, Sports Broadcasting and Thematic Interpretation.  (Competitors may be double entered in a main event.  If competitors do not advance to an out round in a main event they may double enter in any supplemental event.)  Although not a complete roster of all Individual Events offered across the country, this smorgasbord does supply the most popular. 

Competitors qualify by three methods:

  1. Automatic Qualifier (either by placing in the top 3 in a current State competition OR in the future by being a Semifinalist or Finalist at a previous NIETOC)
  2. Bid Qualifier (win two bids from designated NIETOC tournaments--specifics are detailed on the NIETOC site)   
  3. At-Large Qualifier (fill out an application listing at least four tournament rankings that total to eleven or less to be considered for NIETOC competition)

The Forensics Community was fortunate to be able to speak with competitor Ethan Loewi from Sports Broadcasting about his experience in Forensics and the National Individual Events Tournament of Champions.  His insider advantage provided a unique look into this new TOC that, hopefully, will become the Individual Event equivalence to the Debate Tournament of Champions’ level of respect and authority. 


ForCom: How long have you been involved in Forensics?

Ethan: Three years.  I started as a freshman. 

ForCom: Is Sports Broadcasting a new event for you?

Ethan: Totally new!  NIETOC was the first tournament where I competed in it.

ForCom: Impressive.  So what other events have you done?

Ethan: Original oratory only.  That's my main event, but I only got to quarterfinals in it at the NIETOC.  [Editor’s Note: because Ethan did not advance in OO he entered into the supplemental event of Sports Broadcasting.]

ForCom: For those unfamiliar with Sports Broadcasting, could you please give a quick description of the event with some general rules? 

Ethan: Before [the] first round, competitors are given a large packet (25-ish pages) full of lots of information on both [sports] teams.  They study it and take notes on it for about half an hour before competing.  When the round starts, they have to commentate on about 6 minutes of footage that they have never seen before.  The goal is to commentate on the action as accurately and entertainingly as possible--like a professional broadcaster, but with the competitor's individual spin as well.

ForCom: What drew you to Sports Broadcasting?  After having done it, what is it that you love most?

Ethan: I enjoy watching the Denver Nuggets whenever I can, so I'm pretty comfortable with sports.  In general, the event sounded like a lot of fun--and something that I could succeed at because of my backgrounds in sports watching and original oratory.  My favorite part of the event is when you get into a flow, you know the players well, and you get to commentate on an exciting sequence of the game.  It feels really natural and exciting--not stressful or hard at all.

ForCom: Any event advice you can offer to anyone involved in Sports Broadcasting?  Tricks/tips you're willing to share?

Ethan: My biggest tip is this:  Mention statistics and facts!  Being entertaining is not enough to also need to include lots of real information.

ForCom: 2010 was the inaugural NIETOC.  How/when did you first become aware of it?  Was this a tournament you were anticipating since the start of the season? 

Ethan: Our team coach told us about the NIETOC at the beginning of the school year...I had been looking forward to it for quite some time.

ForCom: When did you first know you qualified to compete at the NIETOC (was there a particular tournament you knew you had to do well at, did you place a bid, etc.)?  What was your, your team's, and parent's initial response? 

Ethan: I knew that I was qualified after breaking at the James Logan Invitational (again in California!)  Me and my family/friends were pretty excited, because making the NIETOC was a goal we had had since the beginning of the season.

ForCom: Were you the only member of your team to qualify for the NIETOC?  If no, how many others from your team competed? 

Ethan: A large number of seniors on our team (ten, maybe) qualified, but the tournament conflicted with some events that seniors at our school really cannot miss.  Therefore, only me and a duo of sophomores got to compete at the tournament.

ForCom: Who went with you to the tournament for support?  And what did you guys do after the awards ceremony to celebrate your 1st place win? 

Ethan: My coach Matt Murphy and my two sophmore teammates Ben and Kyle were there with me to represent Denver East.  After the awards ceremony, we didn't have time to celebrate much because we had a flight to catch...but we did do a lot of high-fiving in the car.

ForCom: How many competitors were there in Sports Broadcasting at the NIETOC?  In general, were there more people there competing than you expected because this was a brand new tournament? 

Ethan: I'm not sure exactly...15, maybe?  Sports broadcasting is a new event, so some of the competitors had probably never heard of it before- which would explain the rather low number of competitors.  Next year, I expect many more people to compete now that the event is better known.

ForCom: How would you evaluate the first ever NIETOC?  Would you predict this to become an institution like the TOC in Kentucky? 

Ethan: The tournament as a whole was very fun, well run, and had excellent competition.  Clearly, it attracted some of the best competitors in the country.  I can easily see it becoming a big institution, just like the Kentucky TOC.

ForCom: If there is anything else you would like to add or say, please feel free. 

Ethan: Sports broadcasting is a really fun and challenging event...I expect to see at least twice as many competitors at next year's NIETOC!


A new Tournament of Champions.  A new event in Sports Broadcasting.  And a new batch of Individual Event competitors anticipating 2011 for their chance to compete at the National Individual Events Tournament of Champions.  Ethan Loewi is the first to be crowned Champion in Sports Broadcasting at the NIETOC--and the first to receive a scholarship because of it.  But he will not be the last.  There will be more Champions named, more Champions given scholarships and trophies, more competition, and more followers of this TOC. 

2010 was just the beginning. 


Results for the 2010 NIETOC can be found here.

Sports broadcasting? I wonder if people have practiced for this by playing Madden ;)

I wonder if Loewi competed in this event the following year?

i like that there is an individual events TOC. about time!

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