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by Shelby Willis

The LSUS Debate Team is bringing their A-game this debate season. They competed in late January and brought home a whopping eight Louisiana State Championship titles against 29 other collegiate debate teams. Overall, the LSUS Debate Team won second place in the tournament.

The Interim Director of the debate team, AJ Edwards, elaborated on the team’s success and how they all work together so effortlessly. He said they all support each other in every way possible, from the hardships of dealing with classes during a pandemic to preparing for individual rounds and tournaments. “The success of one debater is truly the success of the entire team,” Edwards said.

Edwards said that this tournament really challenged them as a team because “the Southern Forensics Championships are traditionally one of the biggest and toughest tournaments of the year.” He went on to emphasize how impressed he was by each team member. Although each member brought their own spark, they all stood out in Edwards’s eyes. He highlighted that Leia Smith has a perfect speaking record, David Isaacs has bloomed into a real leader, and many others have proven their willingness to put in the time and effort to be successful.

“Our captains Dom Mercer and Ethan Arbuckle have made this more than a team, they are a family,” Edwards said.

Edwards continued saying that they will not stop at just winning state championships. The ultimate goal, and the team’s personal motto, is to always work one step closer toward the National Championship Tournament and for the LSUS Debate Team to be the one of the best in the nation. He said they build off of their successes and weaknesses from each tournament while preparing for the next one.

Although the team is thriving, they still struggle with the challenge of having to compete virtually. The debate concepts remain the same, but they have had to adjust their delivery styles to a virtual format. This can be an obstacle for some team members because they may experience computer fatigue and they also miss out on the excitement of meeting teams from different areas of the country. However, Edwards said they are truly blessed to be a part of such an amazing university because LSUS has gone above and beyond to provide technology for the team and allow them to continue to compete.

Edwards is in awe of his team members and their dedication to the success of the entire team. “While often debate success is measured in wins and losses of individuals, this team has been totally selfless in their dedication to the overall LSUS debate team goals,” Edwards said. “They are truly some of the best young adults that this university and community have to offer.” 

The LSUS Debate Team will compete next at the BPCC Eddie Shell Invitational on Feb. 19-21. Check it out and show your support!