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The Mock Trial team closed out a suc­cessful semester at their last tour­nament of the season.
Courtesy | Megan Williams

Two Hillsdale Mock Trial teams began spring break by com­peting in the Opening Round Cham­pi­onship Series, which saw the top 192 teams in the nation com­peting for only 48 spots in the national championship. 

Jonathan Church, lec­turer of rhetoric and public address and head coach for the mock trial program, said team 1213 was only two places away from advancing to nationals. Team 1214 also com­peted in the cham­pi­onship series.

“Team 1213 went 8 – 4 so they won eight of their ballots, lost four, and they missed out on going to nationals by half a ballot,” Church said. “They ended up second on the open bid list, so overall for the year we placed 50th. We didn’t make the top 48 but we were two places away.” 

Team 1213’s per­for­mance in ORCS this year made Hillsdale College Mock Trial history, Church said. 

“In terms of placement on the open bid list, it’s the highest we’ve ever been,” he said. 

Senior Sophie Klom­parens, captain of team 1213, said she was proud of her team­mates’ performance.

“I wouldn’t have asked anyone to do any­thing dif­fer­ently. It was the best per­for­mance I’ve seen from basi­cally everyone on that team. And I’m really proud of how everyone did,” Klom­parens said. “As a senior myself, and having freshmen on the team and being able to help them, it def­i­nitely felt like passing a torch and showing other people how to do some­thing that now I’m moving on from doing.” 

Senior Liesl Ragner won the All-National Witness Award. 

“I per­sonally am of the opinion that everyone did really well and was within getting an award,” Ragner said. “I think that we were at the top of our game all weekend. I’m happy to get an award, but everybody did well.” 

Ragner said she had a good expe­rience for her final col­le­giate mock trial tournament. 

“It was a good tour­nament to go out on,” Ragner said. “We had good com­pe­tition, it was a good expe­rience, all the ORCS changes were fun to work with, and we just had a really good crew of people. Everyone on the team was enthu­si­astic and working with each other to meet our goals.”

Team 1214 also com­peted and went 4 – 8. Each tour­nament has four rounds and each round is judged by a panel of three judges, meaning the team must win at least two ballots to win a round. 

Church said this setup was an improvement from pre­vious years, when there were only two judges per round. 

“They expanded ORCS, due to the fact that it’s online and they don’t have geo­graphic con­straints. So frankly, the judging pool is really good this year, and they got three judges per round,” Church said. “So that makes deci­sions of who goes to nationals a little bit less random because in a normal tour­nament if you have a judge who doesn’t like you that can keep you out, whereas here you could get a judge who ran­domly doesn’t like you and it won’t affect you as much.” 

Church said he was proud of team 1214’s 4 – 8 record, espe­cially given the fact that the team was mostly made of freshmen and sophomore competitors. 

“They went 1 – 2 in every single round, so they took one ballot and lost two in all four of their rounds, which is cool because it means they got a ballot out of two teams that went to nationals,” Church said. “It means good things about the future. It means we’ve got a really strong freshman, sophomore core coming through.”