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BPCC debate team wins national championships

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Courtesy Photo | BPCC Debaters celebrate the 2018 IPDA National Championship. Pictured (left to right) are Dominic Mercer, NaTya Rogers, Preston Langley, Magan Billups, Tatum Willhelm, Steve Garcia, Hannah Morris, Jerry McCauley, Dena O'Banion and Mary Catherine Procell.

Bossier Parish Community College’s Debate Team remained at the top of the standings, as the nation’s largest intercollegiate debate organization concluded its national championship tournament on March 27 at Whitworth University in Spokane, WA.

The BPCC team earned the regular season community college national championship, breaking the organization’s all-time record for ranking points earned by a community college and finished with a 3rd place ranking among all colleges and universities.  In Spokane, the team concluded the season by earning the community college championship national championship at the national championship tournament as well.

“This is an amazing group of students,” said Debate Team Coach Bob Alexander.  “We started the season with two primary goals: regular season and championship tournament national championships, and they opened the season in September as the top ranked community college in the nation and never looked back.  It was truly a team effort, and I’m honored to have been able to work with this talented group.”

Mary Catherine Procell finished the year as the regular season national champion in the novice division; her 82 ranking points not only broke the single season novice record of 69 points, but also the all-time record for any division of competition – which was previously 77 points.  Procell was also named the regular season speaking national champion in the novice division and again eclipsed the all-time record point total.

In the varsity division of debate, Jerry McCauley earned the regular season national championship as well.  The 19 season-long awards the team received included the following: Steve Garcia finished 10th in the varsity division; Dena O’Banion finished 3rd in the Professional Division; Preston Langley 4th Pro; and Dominick Mercer and Hannah Morris paired together for a 6th place finish in team debate.

“This year the BPCC debate team has exceeded my wildest dreams and then some,” added Assistant Debate Team Coach Preston Langley. “To go from such a small group of motivated and eager students to the 2018 national champions in less than 7 months is unheard of. I am extremely proud and I can’t wait to break even more records next year.”

In the national championship tournament, the team earned 10 more awards, including the community college national championship. The team was led by Jerry McCauley (2nd place), Mary Catherine Procell (tie 3rd place), Dena O’Banion (tie 3rd place) and the team of Dominick Mercer & Hannah Morris (tie for 5th place).

“This team set a new standard for excellence, and once again showed the nation the quality of students that choose Bossier Parish Community College,” Alexander concluded. “We’re going to enjoy this one for a couple of weeks, and then it’s time to start focusing on earning the next.”