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Mock Trial Team 1127 took sixth place at Uni­versity of Illinois at Urbana-Cham­paign. Andrew Simpson | Courtesy

After its most recent tour­nament, the Hillsdale College Mock Trial program is preparing for the most com­pet­itive tour­na­ments yet this semester: This weekend, Team 1126 will compete at the Yale Invi­ta­tional and Team 1127 will contend at the Carnegie Mellon Invi­ta­tional.

At the Uni­versity of Illinois at Urbana-Cham­paign tour­nament in mid-November, Team 1127 lost to Uni­versity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s A Team in the first round by one point, but fol­lowed by beating their oppo­nents in the fol­lowing three rounds. Team 1127 took both ballots from Indiana University’s D Team, Uni­versity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s D Team, and Truman State University’s B Team. They fin­ished the com­pe­tition in sixth place.

Sophomore Sophie Klom­parens won an attorney award, and junior Lucas O’Hanian won a witness award at the tour­nament.

Coach Lindsey Church ’17 empha­sized the need for a strong comeback after a first round loss, espe­cially at the regional tour­nament, which deter­mines each team’s national rankings for the next semester.

“One thing I try to train our team for, espe­cially when we go to regionals, is the need to come back after a loss in the first round.”

Fol­lowing Team 1127’s tour­nament at UIUC, the mock trial program stacked into A and B teams. Coaches Jon and Lyndsey Church selected members for each team based on sta­tistics they col­lected from past tour­na­ments. Both teams, however, are “com­pet­itive,” and expected to perform at a high level, the coaches said.

“We have cores for both the A and B teams, but depending on how things go, we might make some changes to the rosters going forward,” Lindsey Church said. “Our season goal is to hope­fully get to nationals, and we want both teams to be as com­pet­itive as pos­sible.”

According to junior Andrew Simpson, having two teams allows a program more voice in the American Mock Trial Asso­ci­ation, and Hillsdale’s program fea­tures top-notch per­formers in each position.

Klom­parens moved from Team 1127 to become co-captain of Team 1126, the A Team, with sophomore Mason Aberle. Simpson and first year mock trial member Bryson Phillippe, a junior, are co-cap­tains for the B Team, 1127.

Now, HCMT is working on tweaking case the­ories, taking into account judges’ notes from their past tour­na­ments, in prepa­ration for Yale and Carnegie Mellon as well as next semester’s regional — and hope­fully, national — tour­na­ments. Team 1126 is focusing on editing their plaintiff’s case and catching up their new team members in prepa­ration for this weekend’s tour­nament at Yale Uni­versity, according to Coach Jon Church ’17.

“The Yale tour­nament is the most com­pet­itive invi­ta­tional tour­nament we go to in the fall,” Jon Church said. “Their team is suc­cessful nationally, and it gets exposure from east coast teams, which have their own regional, dis­tinct style. It’s good to get rounds against them and see how they interpret rounds.”

Simpson is con­fident about Hillsdale’s Mock Trial program going into this weekend’s tour­na­ments and looking toward next semester.

“We have the skill for nationals, if the teams want it,” Simpson said.