Mock Trial wins big at tournaments in Eugene and New York

By Madison Pfeifer | December 6, 2018 6:26pm

The Mock Trial team poses after winning a tournament in Eugene. Photo Submission by Kelly Krigger

The 2018-19 season has been the most successful season yet for the University of Portland’s Mock Trial team. The team has won overall first place in their last two tournaments, the Sapientia et Doctrina X Invitational in New York on Dec. 2 and in Eugene the University of Oregon 5th annual David Frohnmayer Invitational on Nov. 18. In Eugene, the team also received half of the individual awards given out by the judges.

According to Mock Trial President senior Kelly Krigger, the win in Eugene was the biggest win for the program in recent history and the victory would not have been possible without every team member that competed. 

“It was this encompassing program success where we couldn’t have done anything without one another,” Krigger said. “It was so special because it was so intertwined.”

According to Krigger, Mock Trial is like the “pre-law club on campus.” For tournaments, all teams prepare an analysis of a chosen lawsuit picked by the American Mock Trial Association. They study the case, form testimonies and statements for both the plaintiff and defense, and attempt to put together a winning argument. Teams work with this specific case throughout the year up until the opening rounds of nationals in April. This year’s case is a civil case concerning negligence, according to Krigger.

Part of the Mock Trial team poses after winning a tournament in Eugene. Photo Submission by Kelly Krigger

During competitions, members compete against other schools as attorneys and witnesses. They compete in two rounds — one as the plaintiff and one as the defense — trying to win the most points, which they call “ranks,” from the judges. 

In Eugene, the team was split into three groups consisting of an A, B and C team. The three teams competed in multiple rounds, facing off against teams such as the University of Oregon, Gonzaga University and the University of Washington. For the second tournament, only the A team traveled to New York and competed against Amherst University, Brandeis University, UT Dallas and Colby College.

The Mock Trial team consists of 24 members. The A team has nine members, the B team has seven members and the C team has eight members.

The A team won the overall tournament in Eugene with the B team coming in third place. The team also received eight Outstanding Witness and Outstanding Attorney Awards from the judges. These awards are given to individuals who the judges think performed the best in a tournament round as either a witness or attorney. Krigger says freshman Madison Johnson and sophomore Megan Musquiz did especially well as they each received both individual awards.

“I’ve never been more proud to be a part of a team,” Johnson said. “The joy and the happiness and excitement that everybody had after was an incredible thing to be a part of.”

Part of the Mock Trial team poses after winning a tournament in Eugene. Photo Submission by Kelly Krigger

The team meets twice a week for three hours each where they hold practice trials and research their case, but they also regularly meet outside of these meetings to make sure they are ready for competition. Political science adjunct instructor Aaron Johnson is the team’s head coach, Perry Kantor is the assistant coach and Bill Curtis, adjunct professor of political science, serves as faculty advisor.

Looking ahead, the team hopes to compete well at regionals, which are being held in Seattle from Feb. 9 to 10, and to make it to the national competition held in Philadelphia from April 4 to 7. Freshman Johnson said that a lot of teams they will face at regionals were at the tournament, so this win gives the team some confidence going into bigger competitions.

Part of the Mock Trial team celebrates after winning a tournament in Eugene. Photo Submission by Kelly Krigger

“With our win here, it just shows how competitive we really are and how we have the potential to take this to the national level,” Johnson said.

The team hopes to use the win as momentum for upcoming competitions. Krigger and Johnson both think that the win is testimony to the work the team puts in every week.

“Having the entire team perform this well and be able to be recognized in such a way, I’ve just never been more proud to be a part of a group of people,” Krigger said. “I’ve just never felt more fulfillment as a leader because it takes so much effort and time to be good at mock trial...everyone put in the time and everyone showed up.”

Madison Pfeifer is reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at