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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.”