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Hills­dale’s Mock Trial Team

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.”