UP’s mock trial “A” team will travel to Washington, D.C. in late March to compete in the American Mock Trial Association’s Opening Round Championship Series after placing third in the Pacific Northwest Regional Tournament in Corvallis, Ore. last weekend.
The “A” team won seven out of eight trials over the course of the weekend-long tournament, a record for them. They also received five individual awards, including seniors Lyndsey Tsuruda, Amanda Danforth and Eileen Kannengeiser for Outstanding Witness, and Danforth and Kannengeiser again for Outstanding Attorney. The “B” team won three and lost five trials at the same tournament.
Kathya Acuña, an assistant coach for the mock trial team, is proud of the work both teams accomplished at the tournament and this season.
“We’ve restructured the team to be a lot more competitive,” Acuña said. “The way it’s structured now, it gives the students more room to push themselves to be better and the team has done extremely well.”
UP’s mock trial teams competed against 10 other universities from the area, including Gonzaga, University of Washington and Stanford. Senior Susie Sprinson, a member of the “A” team, said it was a tough competition but their hard work is paying off.
“We just practice a lot and it showed,” Sprinson said. “I think this was the first time we’ve had a group of people on the ‘A’ team who are very dedicated to having the same goals in the competition, and that helped to bring us together and work hard over the weekend.”
The “A” team’s high placement in the Pacific Northwest Regional allowed it to advance to the Opening Round Championship Series. Different opening round series take place around the country, and the top teams from each opening round series will advance to the National Championship Tournament in Orlando, Fla. in April.
The “A” team was originally supposed to attend the Opening Round Championship Series in Newport Beach, Calif., but the team requested to attend the opening round series in Washington, D.C. because it will give them more time to prepare. Otherwise, the team would only have two weeks to prepare to compete at the national level.
Acuña said this preparation time is crucial because the case they’ve been studying all season changes at the national level. This year’s case, which involved large-scale ticket fraud in an amusement park, was originally interpreted as a robbery case, but now it has changed to a murder case.
“Newport is the first round of opening round championships, and Corvallis was one of the last regional competitions, so it gave us a short turnaround to prepare for the national level,” Acuña said. “We would have been at a disadvantage.”
Competing in Washington, D.C. will expose the “A” team to different teams and judges than they have previously encountered. According to Acuña, many of these teams, like Rutgers and Princeton, have different styles of coaching and argument that UP’s team will have to adjust to.
“They’re very intense programs that have a very high caliber,” she said. “It’s not necessarily something to worry about, but our students will need to devote full time to preparing.”
The Opening Round Championship Series will take place in Washington, D.C. on March 22-23, hosted by the University of Virginia.
Sourced from Beacon