Washington and Lee University’s Mock Trial “A” Team placed fifth at the American Mock Trial Association Regional Tournament the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill earlier this month and gained a spot in the upcoming Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS).
W&L competed head-to-head against George Washington University, the University of Maryland, Duke University, and Campbell University.
Abbie Caudill, a W&L senior psychology and religion major from Urbana, Ohio, has been on the mock trial team throughout her W&L career. As president of the organization she is in charge of everything from organizing transportation to the competitions to helping team members stay organized.
Reflecting on the regional win, Caudill found that the team's work ethic enabled the strong showing.
“I definitely think that our work ethic was a big part of our win. I mean we have a lot of fun, even when we’re at the tournaments, but you know even in between rounds we’re getting feedback from our coaches and trying to improve things and so I think that working really hard definitely helps,” she said.
Also competing for the W&L “A” Team were sophomores Samantha Sisler of Worcester, Pa., Elizabeth Elium of Garrettsville, Ohio, and Jackie Yarbro of Suwanee, Ga., and junior Julia Wingfield of Richmond, Va. and senior Nate Reisinger of Urbana, Ohio.
Katherine Ballou, a W&L junior from Clifton Forde, Va., came away from regionals with two awards. Ballou received an award for her role as the closing attorney for the defense. Her second award was for her compelling portrayal as a witness for the prosecution.
According to Ballou, the team’s win also seemed to be a result of the team's strong bond.
“We’re a very close-nit group since we spend so much time together practicing and preparing for competitions…We always joke and we call it the 'mock family,' but I think that’s a pretty accurate representation of what our team dynamic is like,” she said.
W&L sent a "A" and a "B" team to the regional competition. During the two-day tournament, both of W&L’s teams both participated in four rounds. Both defenses competed twice, as did their prosecutions.
W&L “A” scored high enough to move on to the Opening Round Championship Series on March 15-17 at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. Although “B” Team did not score high enough to earn an automatic spot at ORCS, coming in ninth place, it recently received an open bid to the competition.
The younger team, “B” Team consists of first-years Blake Huddleston of Kemah, Texas, Andrew Teitelbaum of Arlington, Va. and Kristi Gennette of Charleston, W.Va., sophomores Margaret Leer of Paris, Ky. and Joseph Ciborowski of Glenwood Springs, Colo., and junior Christina Lowry of Lexington, Va..
Caudill is excited and optimistic about the upcoming competition.
“I think we’re going to do really well. I think we have a really strong group of people going into it,” she said.
Ballou is also enthusiastic about competing at ORCS, but said she expects to face a different caliber of teams.
“I expect to see more challenging teams, teams that have probably been competing together for a long time so they have a good relationship at the council table. But I’m also excited for us to really buckle down and put a good polish on things,” she said.
The top six teams from the ORCS tournament will advance to the National Championship Tournament in April.
— by Sara J. Korash-Schiff '15
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs