Mock trial team takes second at Regionals

The MU mock trial team will send two teams to the Opening Round Championship Series on March 20-21.

The Mizzou Mock Trial Association took second place at the Regional Tournament Feb. 7. Mack Newton, vice president of the team and co-captain of the Gold Team, led his team to a top-three finish, securing their place at the Opening Round Championship Series. Not only did his team win second place, they placed above top-ranked teams Yale and Duke.

“We were all excited for the challenge, to prove ourselves, to prove that we belong with some of these talented teams,” Newton said.

With no paid coach and little funding for this extracurricular activity, it is a huge accomplishment to compete at the same level as such powerful teams, Newton said.

Paige Harris, a second-year member of the Gold Team, was stressed about such a large tournament. She was responsible for the opening statement and recalls being “mentally defeated” after the trial against Duke. Harris said she was very proud of herself and her team for prevailing over such a difficult challenge.

“It’s been interesting this year getting to go up against these big teams and realize we’re just as good as them,” Harris said.

The Mock Trial Association is composed of three teams: Gold, Black and White. The Gold Team are the strongest team, acting as the A-team, with Black being the B-team and White being the C-team. Not only did the Gold Team qualify for ORCS; the White Team also secured a spot. The Black Team has yet to compete at the regional competition at this time.

“It’s one thing to have an A-team qualify, but to have a C-team qualify for ORCS is an indication that you have the beginnings of a very strong program all the way through,” Newton said.

Newton said that the team suffered a close loss at ORCS last year, so they are hungry to place at the National Championship Tournament this year. Should they proceed to Nationals, it would be the first time since 2013 that MU’s mock trial team has advanced past ORCS.

The team has three weeks to prepare for ORCS, which will occur March 20-21. Their preparations for a competition of this magnitude include two practices per week for two hours. Outside of practice, each team member must study the case and prepare for their individual statements and examinations.

“Polish is what separates good teams from great teams. It’s a lot of being overly critical, but it pays off,” Newton said.

With the tournaments being virtual this year, they record their practices to ensure that their presentation is conveyed well through the screen. The team must secure a top-six finish at ORCS to advance to the national stage.

“I think we have a really good chance at going [to Nationals], especially since we have all of these weeks to work on what we need to in order to be at that level, ” Harris said.

With this win under their belt, Newton is already looking to the future. They are excited to recruit more talent to the team from all schools and colleges across campus.

“If you’re an undergraduate student at Mizzou, and you have a heartbeat, you can try out for the team,” Newton said.

Tryouts will take place this coming fall semester, and dates will be announced on their Facebook page.

Edited by Sophie Chappell |

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