After a full season, the Wheaton College Mock Trial team headed to the Regional tournament this weekend to compete with 24 other teams in the vicinity. The first team came back with third place, qualifying for the next round of competition.
The mock trial team has only been in existence since the 2010, and has consistently performed well. The 2015 team was ranked higher than any other Illinois school, at number 18 on a national level.
At the beginning of each season, the team is given a court case to prepare. This year, it is a civil court case that revolves around two eleven-year-old children from different families, left at home together to fend for themselves. During that time, the children took out the family gun to play with, and one accidentally shot the other. In the case, the parents of the deceased child sue the other family.
The teams from each school prepare the same case, setting up plaintiffs, defense, witnesses and lawyers. All the preparation is finished before competition begins. Each year there is a different case, and all 600 participating schools in the US will enter competition with the same one.
At Wheaton, the 14 teammates split into two teams, each with seven members. According to Selby Mills, the public relations and fundraising person for the first team, traveling over the course of the season is conducive to teammate relationships.
“When we travel for tournaments we get really close,” she stated. At each competition, the full trial takes place and each team is given the opportunity to best demonstrate leadership, public speaking, rhetoric and persuasion. Following the Regional tournament, Wheaton’s first team, nicknamed Parents Against Guns or “PAG,” and led by captains Jasmine Stein and Clark Doig, will advance to the Opening Round Championship Series.
The second team, nicknamed 23 Maple Street and led by captains freshman Corbin McNeill and junior Moriah Nacionales-Tafoya, finished their season at Regionals with a record of 4-4.
ORCS will take place the weekend after spring break, and the top six teams will qualify for the national tournament that follows.