Coaches

Junior Summer Speech Institute

Kristofer Kracht

Kristofer Kracht

Kristofer Kracht is starting his thirteenth-year directing the Gustavus Adolphus College Forensics program and his eighth year directing the Gustavus Summer Speech Institute. Last year he tried to grow a beard, but it ruined his bald man glare ratio, so he decided to shave. During his tenure, Gustavus became 1 of 11 schools in the history of collegiate forensics to be ranked in the elite top 10 five consecutive years. He's getting pretty old now, but that is okay. Gustavus placed 6th at the 2014 American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament and 7th at the 2014 National Forensic Association National Championship while earning a National Championship in Presidents D-I. Woo! Kris has coached fourteen national finalists, 69 state champions, qualified ten students for the Interstate Oratorical Association National Contest, and coached five AFA-NIET All-Americans. He also made such good hot dogs at the last AFA-NIET that his team of 13 students consumed 40 hot dogs in a little under an hour. Additionally, he received the 2006 Bob Derryberry Award For Outstanding New Forensics Educator, the 2009 Pi Kappa Delta Brightest Star Award, and the 2010 Swenson-Bunn Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence, and the 2011 AFA District Four Larry Schnoor Distinguished Service Award. He's also the best coach in the world. Kris has two children, Eva and Noah, who are pretty neat.

Cadi Kadlecek

Cadi Kadlecek

Cadi Kadlecek starts her third year as the Associate Director of Forensics at Gustavus Adolphus College. She is originally from Ceresco, NE, where she competed at Raymond Central High School and was a member of a multiple state Championship team. In addition, she was an Octa-Finalist in Humorous Interpretation at the NFL National Tournament her senior year. As a college competitor, she competed in Public Address, Limited Prepration, and Interpretation winning not only the Nebraska state title in Dramatic interpretation, but also a National Championship in Prose Interpretation. In addition to success in forensics, Kadlecek demonstrated success in the classroom and service to the community by receiving the AFA-NIET All-American Award. Kadlecek now serves as a college coach and has coached students at Illinois State University, Bradley University, Concordia College, and Gustavus Adolphus College; managing to coach nationally competitive students in each of the 11 events at the AFA-NIET. In her spare time, she bakes cupcakes and likes to play with her two cats, Ira and Sophia.

Kellen Andersen

Kellen Andersen

Kellen Andersen just graduated from Paynesville Area High School in Minnesota this past spring and will be attending Gustavus Adolphus College in the upcoming fall with the intent of going pre-med and majoring in either biology or psychology. Kellen has been participating in speech ever since he has been in 6th grade. He has competed in poetry for the first two years and then switched to Humorous Interp. in 8th grade. Throughout the course of his high school Speech career, he has received over 20 first place medals in Central Minnesota invitational meets and took 7th in the Minnesota State High School League tournament as a sophomore. Recently, he took first place in Oral Interpretation in the 2012 Gustavus Adolphus College Summer Speech Institute tournament. When he is not working on perfecting speeches, Kellen enjoys long walks on the beach, reading MASSIVE books, and watching movies with friends and family. Kellen also has an obsession with alternative and Indie rock music and deeply enjoys the storylines of Shrek and Beowulf. He also enjoys puppies.

Brittany Knutson

Brittany Knutson

Brittany Knutson is a junior member of the Gustavus Adolphus Forensics team from Watertown, SD. In high school, she competed in Original Oratory and qualified for the NFL National Tournament in 2010 and 2011. Last year year, Brittany competed in Persuasion, Informative, After Dinner Speaking, Extemporaneous Speaking, Communication Analysis and Impromptu Speaking. At Gustavus, Brittany is a Communication Studies and English double-major. When she isn't busy with speech or school work, Brittany enjoys reading and traveling.

Emily Meyer

Emily Meyer

Emily Meyer is a junior member of the Gustavus forensics team from Andover, Minnesota who specializes in Public Address. She competed for four years in Extemporaneous Reading and two years in Original Oratory at St. Francis High School. She qualified for the state tournament in E.R. her senior year. She also participated in Public Forum and Lincoln Douglas debate for three years and Congressional Debate for four years. During her first year on the collegiate circuit, she qualified two events to the AFA-NIET: Prose and Informative. She also placed second in the district in Informative. Last year she qualified four events to the AFA-NIET: Persuasive Speaking, Informative Speaking, Program Oral Interpretation, and Prose Interpretation. She also was a national quarterfinalist in Persuasive Speaking. Emily is a Biology major with a concentration in botany and a Studio Art minor; she enjoys reading, painting and spending time with her friends.

Noelle Anderson

Noelle Anderson

Noelle Anderson is making the move from California to Minnesota in order to further her speech career at Gustavus Adolphus College. Because she has been stuck at community college for four years, she will be transferring to Gustavus as a junior. Noelle has an Associate Degree in Communication Studies and a Child Development Teacher Permit. During her two years on the Moorpark Forensics team she competed strictly in Oral Interpretation events. Her first year at the California Community College Forensics Association (CCCFA) state championship tournament she won Gold in Prose, Silver in Duo, and Bronze in DI. That same year at Phi Rho Pi she won Bronze in DI and helped the team place 4th overall in sweeps. Her second year at CCCFA she won Gold in Prose, Gold in Duo, Bronze in POI, and the team was named State Champion. At Phi Rho Pi she received Bronze in POI and the team placed 2nd overall in the nation. With regards to non-speech things, Noelle is a former gymnast. She enjoys spending time with preschool-aged children and loves puppies.

Megan Johnson

Megan Johnson

My name is Megan and I hail from Coon Rapids, MN. I went to Blaine high school and was a captain for both speech and debate. This year I will be a freshman on the Gustavus Forensics team. Up until my senior year, I primarily focused on public address events. My main event was informative and I was able to be the captain of that category. During my senior year I dabbled in prose and did discussion as well. I also have experience in limited prep speaking events (thanks to debate). In debate, I did public form but switched to congressional debate, which led me to compete at the Harvard debate tournament. I am also an alumni of GAC-SSI 2013. I won the spirit award in my pride. When I’m not writing speeches and practicing, I like to ride my bicycle and listen to rock music.

Madison Klein

Madison Klein

My name is Madison Klein, I’m from Huron, South Dakota and this fall I will be majoring in Music/Pre-Medicine. I’m very excited to be attending Gustavus Adolphus College this fall, but I’m even more excited to be a part of their speech team! My interest in speech started in elementary school when my mother would take me to the showcase nights the high school varsity team would have. I instantly decided it was something I wanted to do when I was a “big kid”. I joined our middle school team in the seventh grade and have been competing ever since then. My primary and favorite event has always been duo, but I’ve also competed in humor, oratory, drama, poetry, prose, and reader’s theater. Over my four years in high school forensics I have, been awarded six superior medals at the South Dakota State Oral Interpretation Festival, been a part of my conference’s championship duo team for the past three seasons, qualified for the NFL National Tournament in duo twice, been awarded the Harold Jordan Award from the state of South Dakota for outstanding contributions to the activity, attended GAC-SSI for two summers and made a lot of great friends. I’m a firm believer that competing in speech does not only improve your public speaking and people skills, but also your outlook on the world and appreciation for life. I am very grateful to this activity for making me the person I am today and I am SO EXCITED to be helping out at camp this year! GO GUSTIES!

Rodrigo Vazquez

Rodrigo Vazquez

Rodrigo was born in Tijuana Mexico in 1996. He moved to Minnesota in 1998 for his parents to pursue a PHD in the University of Minnesota. For his elementary education he attended a Montessori Magnet school named Crossroads. He attended a Montessori Charter High School named Great River School where he pursed the IB diploma. His school did not have a speech program. Instead he spent the majority of his time in Lego League and Robotics, eventually becoming the Build captain of his team. When he found the time, he enjoyed doing extracurricular activities related to public speaking such as debate, theater and poetry out loud. In addition, he participated in a summer camp at William Mitchel Law School doing Future in Learning Law. He learned about forensics through the SSI program. When he participated in 2012, he had never written a speech before. Through the support of mentors and hard dedication he was able to achieve second place in Public Address through Original Oratory. His ability to work through the lack of experience and confidence was reflected by the Growth Award. This won him an $8000 scholarship to attend Gustavus Adolphus and a love for forensics. Because of that scholarship he is entering as a Gustavus freshman and a new member of the forensics team.

Sarah Peterson

Sarah Peterson

Hi my name is Sarah! I would like to start off by saying that I am SUPER excited to work at this camp and meet all of you lovely people! I joined the Fridley High School speech team when I was in 7th grade, and I was the only middle-school student on the team. It was terrifying, but I kept with it because there was this sort of happiness and excitement I felt being involved in speech that made me keep coming back. In 7th and 8th grade I was in Poetry and let’s just say I didn’t win very often (or at all). When I was a freshman I made it to finals at our conference meet and I was standing up on the stage for awards and I had already assumed I’d get last place, so when my name wasn’t called immediately I thought that I was standing on the stage for the wrong category and I was SO embarrassed! It wasn’t until they announced my name for second place that I felt both relieved and astonished.

Throughout my six years of speech I have been in the categories of Serious Poetry, Humorous, Extemporaneous Reading (for a very short time), and Dramatic Duo. Most of my time has been spent in Poetry and Humorous and I would consider them to be two of my favorite categories! They are also the categories in which I have had the most success… coincidence? I am very grateful to have received several first and second place awards in these categories as well as in Duo. I have been honored to be on the Minnesota speech coaches’ “dream team” twice, to have received the Captains Award as well as several gold medals in lettering. I am a strong believer that success cannot be attained without hard work and disappointment. There were so many Saturdays where I was coming home empty-handed, but this only pushed me to further better myself. I think that the Junior Summer Speech Institute will be a fantastic way for young “speechers” to better themselves!

Clay Sletta

Clay Sletta

Clay Sletta was born in 1996. Then he was in ninth grade when he gave his first speech. In tenth grade he won eighth place in State AA prose. I explored characters and built fluent stories. I do prose. That’s what I’m still doing today. The End.

Ryan Eichenauer

Ryan Eichenauer

Ryan Eichenauer is a freshman member of the Gustavus Forensics team from Blaine, Minnesota. Ryan competed in speech for four years at Centennial High School where he specialized in Drama, Creative Expression, and Duo Interpretation. Some of Ryan’s high school accomplishments include: being a captain of his team his senior year, finaling at some of the nation’s largest tournaments (like his 4th place finish at Rosebowl or his 1st place finish at the Eagan Invitational), qualifying for state consecutively for three years and finishing 8th his senior year, and finally, breaking his school record for there most NFL points. He is also an alumni of GAC-SSI where he placed 3rd and 1st in honor finals. Ryan will start his college career competing in After Dinner Speaking and Dramatic Interpretation. When he isn’t working on speech or achieving his double-major in Psychology and Sociology, Ryan enjoys writing, listening to music, traveling, and spending time with friends!

Wilson Fields

Wilson Fields

HI! I’m Wilson Fields, I am Greenville, South Carolina born and raised. I am sweet tea sippin’ fried food eatin’ southern boy. I got into Forensics when I was a freshman in High School. On the local level I was a multiple state finalist in both Humorous Interp and Storytelling and my senior year I was a state champion in Dramatic Interp. On a national level I was in multiple out-rounds at many different national level tournaments. In high school I competed in every single NFL event except Duo and debate. In college I am primarily an interper and have had success, especially in my sophomore year which consisted of multiple national level tournament out-rounds in both Dramatic Interp and Duo Interp, placing four of my five events at our state tournament and being a national quarterfinalist in Dramatic Interp at the National Forensics Association National Tournament.

Kellen Andersen

Kellen Andersen

Kellen Andersen is a Sophomore Biology major, Pre-Medicine track, Neuroscience minor and member of the Gustavus Adolphus College Forensics Team. He competed in Humorous Interp. all four years in the Minnesota State High School League, placing 7th in the State as a Sophomore and winning the 2012 Gustavus Adolphus College Summer Speech Institute Oral Interpretation Tournament. Last year, Kellen competed in Drama, Prose, Duo, Impromptu Speaking, and After Dinner Speaking on the Gustavus team, qualifying both Drama and Duo to the American Forensics Association national tournament at Arizona State University. There, he placed in the top 100 Dramas in the country. This is Kellen's second year being a coach at the Junior Summer Speech Institute, and is his fourth year coming to the Summer Speech Institute. He is SUPER excited to meet all of the phenomenal campers and to share his love of forensics with them! When Kellen isn't perfecting speeches, he enjoys reading, watching Netflix, camping with his family, being in a lab, doing science, and talking about Gustavus! One fun fact about Kellen is that he loves cacti and has five different types at his house!