Thursday, March 23, 2017

[359] MTSU debate team to host Irish Times National Champions for March 21 exhibition

MTSU’s Blue Raider Debate team will again host the Irish Times National Champions for a friendly rhetorical exhibition as the team continues an impressive season that has lead to top finishes around the region.

Debating the topic of whether university education should be free, this year’s exhibition with the three-member Irish team will take place at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, in the State Farm Lecture Hall of the Business and Aerospace Building. The event is free and open to the public.

MTSU debaters Skye Irish, a junior from Rockwood, Tennessee; Christopher Cowherd, a freshman from Marietta, Georgia; and Tristan Horn, freshman from Pleasant View, Tennessee, will be debating the Irish team Aisling Tully, Dara Keenan and Leah Morgan. The Irish teams stop at MTSU is part of its U.S. tour that includes stops at several other universities.

MTSU also hosted the Irish Times champions in 2015. Hosting the Irish team again comes after the Blue Raider debate team’s stretch of successes since November 2016. Competing in several tournaments and individual competitions, the team has won against elite teams.

The team has competed in five tournaments, including a win in the Southeast Debate Tournament against the best team in the region. “They have become the number one debate team in Tennessee since the 1980s,” says debate team coach Pat Richey, director of forensics at MTSU.

“Tennessee is the most competitive state in the nation,” Richey added. “They compete in individual as well as team events and also public speaking events. They’re even breaking into forensics and have done really, really well.”

Debate team member Skye Irish says that being on the team will help her with her future endeavors of law school.

“It doesn’t matter what views you have,” she said. “Debate is unique and welcoming, and we do as much as we can to help anyone out.”

“Debate team has been the most stable part of my college career,” captain of individual events and MTSU senior Alex Lempin said. “I have become a better public speaker, and it has helped me with my interview skills and to really think critically.”

“We have done really well in our team events and our individual event,” Lempin added. “We made our presence known regionally and statewide and have placed at both levels.”

MTSU’s Blue Raider Debate team has about 15 to 20 active members who represent a variety of majors from political science to communications to religious studies. The team hopes to continue their success throughout the 2017 season.

For more information about the debate team, visit, or contact Dr. Patrick Richey at

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