For the first time in 10 years, the University of Connecticut Mock Trial Society advanced 10 members from the Mock Trial Regional Tournament at Yale University to the Opening Round Championships Series (ORCS) in New York where they walked away with a 4-4 record, according to a UConn Mock Trial Society press release.
UConn’s Mock Trial Society is recognized by the American Mock Trial Association and each year participates in mock trials alternating from civil or criminal cases, according to the society’s website. UConn Mock Trial President Kharl Reyando said this year’s trial dealt with a complex murder case which included an intricate and diverse set of witnesses and evidence.
At the Regional Tournament, society member Kyle Adams earned the Best Regional Witness Award, according to the press release. At ORCS, society member William Weishaupt received a Best ORCS Witness Award.
UConn Mock Trial won against Bowdoin College and Brown University and lost against Harvard University and the University of Arizona in the ORCS, according to the press release.
UConn’s defense board was among the top three defense teams at ORCS, making them undefeated alongside the defense teams from Yale and Tufts University, according to the press release.
UConn Mock Trial Vice President Colin MacDougald said UConn Mock Trial experienced unparalleled success this year because of an influx of participants, about quadruple that of prior years.
“Our organization is the biggest it’s ever been. We had more than 20 members in the organization this year and we are only allowed to put 10 people on a roster,” MacDougald said. “We built a strong, strong roster and our leadership really wanted to run it like a sport.”
MacDougald said the members’ morale and dedication set this year’s team apart from those in the past.
“We installed it early on in the year that we wanted to compete,” UConn Mock Trial Secretary Kiahna Stephens said. “For me, that was what really drove me. We installed a sense of comradery.”
With a young team consisting of mostly underclassmen, Reyando said having returning members next year with one or two years of experience under their belt will foster even greater success in upcoming competitions.
“We were very, very young this year, with a lot of first timers [to] mock trial,” Reyando said. “Just having one year of experience really does matter. The knowledge of the team has really been growing.”
Reyando said the team’s achievements would not have been possible without UConn Pre-Law Advisor Diane Whitney.
“Diane Whitney has been so supportive of our team and encouraged us to take student leadership and really run with it,” Reyando said. “We don’t have a coach or manager, so all decisions are team-oriented and a collaborative effort. I really wanna thank her for guiding us.”
Although UConn Mock Trial is often associated with following a law-centered track while studying at the university, Reyando said all students should look into the club, regardless of their major.
“Although it’s branded as a law [club], it’s more about people who enjoy arguing and like to find things to uncover,” Reyando said. “In this sport, you learn so much in a short amount of time, especially publically acting, thinking on your feet and working under pressure. It’s a very challenging sport but it’s very, very rewarding.”
Lillian Whittaker is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.