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MTSU debate team to host Irish 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 led 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 from University College Dublin’s Literary and Historical Society 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. A searchable, printable campus parking map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap.

Pictured, from left, are the Irish Times National Champions team of Aisling Tully, Dara Keenan and Leah Morgan. They are competing against a trio of MTSU debaters at a March 21 exhibition in the State Farm Lecture Hall inside the Business and Aerospace Building. (Submitted photo)

The Irish Times National Champions debate team of Aisling Tully, left, Dara Keenan and Leah Morgan from University College Dublin’s Literary & Historical Society will compete against a trio of MTSU debaters at a March 21 exhibition in the State Farm Lecture Hall inside the Business and Aerospace Building. (Submitted photo)

MTSU debaters Skye Irish, a junior from Rockwood, Tennessee; Christopher Cowherd, a freshman from Marietta, Georgia; and Tristan Horn, a freshman from Pleasant View, Tennessee, will be debating the Irish team, Aisling Tully, Dara Keenan and Leah Morgan.

The Irish team’s MTSU visit is part of its U.S. tour that includes stops at several other universities.

MTSU also hosted the Irish Times champions in 2015. This year’s visit comes after the Blue Raider debate team’s stretch of successes since November 2016.

The MTSU 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 No. 1 debate team in Tennessee since the 1980s,” says debate team coach Patrick Richey, director of forensics at MTSU.

Dr. Patrick Richey

Dr. Patrick Richey

“Tennessee is the most competitive state in the nation,” Richey adds. “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.”

MTSU debate team member Skye Irish says that being on the team will help her with her future endeavors, which include law school.

“It doesn’t matter what views you have,” she says. “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,” says MTSU senior Alex Lempin, who serves as the team’s captain of individual events. “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 adds. “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. Team members say they hope to continue their success throughout the 2017 season.

For more information about the debate team, visit www.mtsu.edu/debate, or contact Richey at Patrick.Richey@mtsu.edu.

— Faith Few (news@mtsu.edu)

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