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Hillsdale College's mock trial "$traight Up" team won first place at Wheaton Colleg's Thunderdome Invitational on Saturday and Sunday, the first tournament of the year. Facebook
Hillsdale College’s mock trial “$traight Up” team won first place at Wheaton College’s Thun­derdome Invi­ta­tional on Sat­urday and Sunday, the first tour­nament of the year. Facebook

At its first tour­nament of the year, Hillsdale College’s mock trial teams placed first and fourth in the Thun­derdome Invi­ta­tional on Friday and Sat­urday.

Wheaton College hosted 21 col­leges for the tour­nament held in the DuPage County Cour­t­house in Wheaton, Illinois. Team “$traight Up,” cap­tained by senior Kris­tiana Mork and junior Honor Perrine, scored a record of 7 – 1, winning first. Team “I’ll Allow It,” cap­tained by senior Jon Church and sopho­mores Mark Compton and Natalie Taylor, scored a record of 6 – 2, taking fourth.

“It’s espe­cially remarkable, due to the fact that one third of each of those teams is com­posed of freshmen or new members,” Church said.

While the latest addi­tions con­tributed to the teams’ overall success, Church, Taylor, Mork, and junior Laurel Nitzel took home four indi­vidual awards.

In addition to ded­i­cated upper­classmen, Perrine attributed the teams’ early success to their coach, Neal Brady, and his focus on pri­or­i­tizing instruction of freshmen during the fall invi­ta­tional season.

“We work really hard, but we have a lot fun,” freshman Alexander Yun said. “I didn’t do mock trial in high school, so I have a lot to learn, but the upper­classmen have been really sup­portive in helping me learn my role on the team.”

The teams are now preparing for their next invi­ta­tional at Michigan State Uni­versity on Sat­urday and Sunday. Although this tour­nament is nor­mally chal­lenging, the teams said they are looking forward to com­peting again.

“Looking to the future, I feel con­fident in our ability to achieve similar success throughout the upcoming season,” Perrine said.

Perrine said the com­pe­tition will provide Hillsdale a better mea­surement with how close it is to achieving the goal of com­peting in the spring national com­pe­tition.

Although the college’s mock trials teams have grown over the past several years, the national tour­nament has con­tinued to elude them. This year, however, with great freshman and phe­nomenal returning talent, their sights are set to qualify for the national cham­pi­onship tour­nament in Los Angeles, Cal­i­fornia.

“As a program,” Church said, “we are learning how to con­sis­tently place in the top six or seven teams at the tour­na­ments we attend because that is what is required to advance.”