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LSUS Debate Team Celebrates Success Despite Shortened Season

March 30, 2020



The LSUS Debate Team at the 2020 Tournament of Roses Invitational.


SHREVEPORT, LA.-The LSU Shreveport debate team has concluded another successful season of competition in the International Public Debate Association. The team finished ranked as the second overall team in the nation for the Season-long Team Sweepstakes Award. Along with their second-place finish nationally, LSUS brought home an additional six national championship season-long awards and numerous top ten final rankings. Unfortunately, the National Championship Tournament and Convention was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. Despite the premature end to the season, the Pilot debate team is thrilled with its season-long success. 


In the Junior Varsity division, senior Business Management and Administration student Megan Arbuckle finished as the National Champion Speaker for the season, along with a fourth-place finish in individual debate season rankings. Fellow JV competitor Victoria Silvio, a junior Business Management student, ranked eighth in the nation for the season-long debate competition.


In the Varsity Division, senior Cellular and Molecular Biology major Mary Catherine Procell placed second in the nation for individual debate, edging out teammate Dominick Mercer, a senior history major, in a tiebreaker. Dominick finished ranked third in the nation and was the ninth-place speaker for the season. Matthew Gedeon, a Marketing senior, ranked tenth in the nation. The Varsity squad for LSUS finished as the National Champions for the Season-long Sweepstakes Competition in IPDA debate.


In the Professional division, senior Criminal Justice major Tommy James finished as the second-place professional debater in the nation as well as the third-place season long speaker. MBA student Leia Smith placed seventh in the nation and was the sixth-place speaker for the Professional Division. MLA graduate student Steve Harkness finished tied for tenth in the nation in the Professional Division in just his first year of collegiate debate. The LSUS Professional Division Squad also finished as the Season-long National Champions for the Professional Squad sweepstakes award. 


In the Team IPDA division, Matthew Gedeon and Dominick Mercer finished the season as the National Championship number one ranked team in the country. Dominick Mercer also won the National Championship Speaking Title for the year. Ethan Arbuckle, a junior Business Administration student, placed as the ninth-place speaker for the season. The LSUS Debate team finished out the three-division run as the National Champions for the Team Debate Squad Season-long Sweepstakes. 


Even though the season was cut short, the team’s continuous hard work and dedication continue to bring national recognition to the program. Team members Dominick Mercer, Ethan Arbuckle, and Matthew Gedeon have credited the continued success of the team to the amazing support of the LSUS administration, faculty, and staff. “None of our success would have been possible without all of the amazing people at LSUS,” said Arbuckle. 


The debate team will now turn its focus to continued practice, teaching, and recruiting to bring home another National Championship next year.


For more information about the LSUS Debate Team, please contact AJ Edwards, Director of Debate at 318-751-8350 or


Founded in 1967, Louisiana State University Shreveport offers a wide array of nationally accredited undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including a doctoral degree. The university’s mission is to educate a diverse population of graduate and undergraduate students; engage in regional and global thought leadership through community collaboration and service, and innovate to enhance the application of knowledge and intellectual discovery through faculty and student research and creative endeavors. 




Media Contact: Wendell Riley, Director of Media and Public Relations, 318-797-5108 or

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