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Nov. 18, 2009
Despite a limited budget and novice competitors, Northwest's mock trial team had a successful showing at the recent Jayhawk Invitational meet in Lawrence, Kan.
Daniel Smith, assistant professor of history/humanities/philosophy/political science and the team's coach, said Northwest's mock trial team is a student organization that "competes against many schools with large budgets, law schools at their campuses and practicing lawyers as supplemental coaches." Some of the schools competing in the Jayhawk Invitational included the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Creighton University, Kansas State University, University of Missouri-Columbia, Kansas University, Washburn University and the University of Colorado.
Smith said the Northwest team has virtually no budget, and other than an elective practicum hour, no course is offered for mock trial participants. Last year, the team was forced to withdraw from its only competition due to budget constraints. However, after several fundraising initiatives, the mock trial team was able to travel to the fall invitational for the first time in three years.
Bree Berner, a sophomore competing in her first college mock trial competition, placed among the top attorneys (18 out of 20 marks) and top witnesses (19 out of 20 marks). In addition, Smith said four Northwest students narrowly missed recognition. After losing the first trial, which was the first run-through with this year's case and the first college-level competition for six of Northwest's eight students who participated in the invitational, Northwest tied all three remaining rounds, two of which were against teams that finished in the top five.
Members of Northwest's mock trial team are senior co-captains Samantha Stocklaufer and Amanda Petelin, seniors Patrick Winkler and Blair Henry, juniors Justin Yates and Elizabeth Chipps, sophomore Bree Berner and freshmen Melissa Hankins and Ieishia Muncy.
Smith said the team hopes to participate in a scrimmage with Kansas City-area schools next month as well as the regional competition in February.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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