Mock trial team competes in national tournament

Kandace Sebastian

Although Western’s Mock Trial team has only been together for two years, they have already advanced to the national tournament.

The team competed at the American Mock Trial Association’s national competition held on March 21-23 in St. Paul, Minn. They placed 14th out of 52 university teams that competed in the competition.

Teams in the America Mock Trial Association compete against each other by playing lawyers and witnesses in a mock law case given at the beginning of the competing year. The teams prepare to act for both the plaintiff and defendant side of the case.

Louisville senior Kristie Alfred, one of the team captains, has participated in the team since it began two years ago and has experienced the fast progression of the young team.

“It was very overwhelming,” Alfred said. “I had no idea how huge it was, but we gained our confidence by working hard and having great support, which was shown through our results this year.”

Livermore senior Alaina Green played a witness on the team and received the All-American Witness award for her performance at the nationals.

Although Green is honored to receive the award, she said it is most important to work well as a team.

“We have been trying to improve, and getting to go to the national tournament was a big honor,” Green said.

The mock trial team started two years ago with the help of Western alumnus and Bowling Green attorney Ryan Reed.

When Reed went to law school, he said he enjoyed being a part of the mock trial team, and wanted Western students to have such a experience. By having the team compete in tournaments regionally and nationally, Western will also receive national prominence, he said.

The team started as a bi-term class in fall 2001, which offered the basics for participating in a mock trial event, Reed said. It is a required course for participants on the team.

In fall 2001, the team joined the American Mock Trial Association, which has teams from over 200 American universities.

Western’s team competed in several events this past fall. They tied for first with Duke University at the Eastern Kentucky University Invitational tournament, placed 16th out of 64 at the Middle Tennessee State University competition, placed second at the Miami of Ohio University Invitational tournament, and placed fourth in the regional tournament in Birmingham, Ala.

Western’s team qualified for the nationals out of their region by having a high accumulation of points for the four tournaments.

Reed, who continues to help the team, said competing in the national tournament has benefited the team.

“Competing in the nationals will make us stronger at the next invitational tournaments that we go to, because it is the toughest we’ve ever faced,” Reed said. “It’ll make us better for next year. Now we know what the other teams are doing. It’s a work on your feet type of endeavor.”

The team is coached by Bowling Green attorneys Matt and Melanie Cook and visiting professor of political science Martha Adams.

“You think you’re giving them tricks of the trade,” said Matt Cook. “I’ve learned a lot from them; they have done tremendously well.”

Reach Kandace Sebastian at [email protected]