The Mock Trial Organization at the University of Rochester is heading to its first Gold Tournament in the group's eight-year history.
A seven-member team of the organization placed second in the Finger Lakes Regional Tournament in February against teams, such as Harvard, Brown, and Cornell universities. The placement secured the team a spot in the national tournament, which runs from April 16 to 18 at Stetson University in St. Petersburg, Fla. The national tournament is made up of four to five rounds and will pit the Rochester team against some of the best in the nation.
In mock trial competitions, teams are supplied with the facts and stipulations surrounding a case. Countless hours are spent preparing trial strategies, witness roles, opening and closing statements, and direct and cross-examination questions for both the plaintiff and defense.
"It is so exciting to have made it this far for the first time," said Jen Mikels, Class of 2008, Mock Trial president and team captain. "This is something I want to do, so its great practice for the future, but it's also a lot of fun."
Ben Wilkinson, Class of 2007, Mock Trial business manager, said the practice and the competitions serve as a character building experience. "I have learned so much from Mock Trial. You learn to trust yourself and trust in your abilities," Wilkinson said.
Besides Wilkinson and Mikels, Megan Moran, Andrew Cashmore, Jason Novak, Brittany Crowley, and Amy Bishop will compete in the tournament.
The 15-member Mock Trial organization, which consists of two teams, focuses on learning about the work of trial attorneys, understanding the judicial system, and developing critical thinking and communication skills.