The Hillsdale Mock Trial enjoyed a standout weekend with two of their three mock trial teams placing in their respective tournaments.
Team 1149 finished fourth at Penn State and Team 1150 finished third at Case Western. To top it off, the program scored several individual awards recognizing standout witness and attorney performances by Bryson Phillipe, Jenny Wiland, Andrew Shaffer, and Mason Aberle.
The weekend follows an already exceptional year, with Team 1151 finishing 5 – 3 at the 7th Annual Red Cedar Classic at Michigan State University, earning an honorable mention. Team Captain Sophie Klomparens won an Outstanding Attorney award at the event.
Hillsdale Mock Trial has quickly become a force in collegiate mock trial, facing off with other prominent universities including Yale, Miami (OH), and Cornell. Students will usually engage in four mock trials over the course of two days with both schools acting out a trial as the prosecution and the defense.
As senior Kiara Freeman described it, “The judge does not give us a “ruling” at the end, but he or she does give us comments on our performance. Most often we get, ‘The lawyers I see aren’t as good as you guys.’ We laugh.”
This season marks the first year Hillsdale Mock Trial has fielded three teams, thanks in part to the influx of participants.
“We had two full team’s worth of members return to compete again from last year,” said one of the team captains, Andrew Shaffer. “With so many people returning, we added another team to our program composed of entirely new members. While having so many new members compete together might seem odd from the outside, I believe it has allowed those members to experience a level of competition and team responsibility that they would not otherwise have experienced if they were on a team with returning members.”
According to Shaffer, engagement from the freshman class has been a key component of this year’s mock trial team.
“With the addition of a new team, we were able to pick up more freshmen than normal and it has been awesome to see them commit themselves wholeheartedly to this case,” he said.
Freeman also highlighted the club’s commitment to new students and expansion.
“We did not want to turn down interested freshmen and or miss the opportunity to add individuals that would benefit our team,” she said. “Hillsdale College Mock Trial always has a considerable amount of interest from freshmen. This year was no exception.”
Expectations are high this year for Hillsdale College Mock Trial. Every year since 2013, Hillsdale has sent at least one team to the Opening Round Championships of the American Mock Trial Association. Shaffer expressed optimism about the team’s chances.
“If we have done this well in the beginning of the season, we have a lot to look forward to as the season progresses.”