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News Release

Oct. 26, 2018

Mock trial team members earn civility, outstanding witness awards

One Northwest Missouri State University team earned an honorable mention for their fair play and an individual competitor was recognized as an outstanding witness as the University hosted its ninth annual Bearcat Invitational mock trial tournament Oct. 6-7.

Two teams of Northwest students competed in the tournament, which featured a field of 19 teams from 10 schools that included Baylor University, Creighton University, the University of Iowa and the University of Kansas in addition to teams from Washburn University, Missouri Southern State University and the University of Central Missouri.

The two-day event included four rounds that centered on a fictional lawsuit involving a television studio and the owner of a chimpanzee that attacked and killed a writer.

Bruce Menard, a sophomore mathematics major from Gladstone, Missouri, received two of 10 outstanding witness awards handed out at the conclusion of the tournament. In fact, he was the only competitor to receive multiple awards, earning outstanding witness recognition on both sides of the case.

A Northwest team also was one of three competing teams to earn an honorable mention for the Bree Sturner Civility Award, which is named for a Northwest alumna and co-founder of the tournament and is presented to a team that exemplifies the qualities of civility, justice, and fair play. The Northwest team consisted of Lauren Taylor, Grace Eagan, Tyler Throckmorton, Harlee Sine, Lucas Fansler, Ben Hayen, Taylor Moore and Moise Yeager. A Baylor University won the award while teams from Creighton University and Luther College also received honorable mentions.

Daniel Smith, Northwest Mock Trial coach and an assistant professor of political science, said the tournament was the second largest in the Bearcat Invitational’s history. Joining Smith as staff members to ensure the tournament ran efficiently were 2017 Northwest alumna Hannah Sears; Bradley Taylor, a senior computer science major from Kansas City, Missouri, and George McNary, an associate professor at Creighton and that university’s pre-law advisor.

Nodaway County Associate Circuit Judge Doug Thomson and Northwest Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Kim Casey were among the volunteer judges, who also included a number of alumni of Northwest’s pre-law and mock trial programs.

Northwest’s mock trial team competes in regional and national competitions sponsored by the American Mock Trial Association. Students prepare cases and play the roles of attorneys and witnesses during simulated trials before professional judges and attorneys. Mock trial gives undergraduate students an opportunity to learn firsthand about the judicial process and the work of trial attorneys in addition to honing communications skills.

The team’s 2018-19 officers are Eagan, a senior political science major from Cromwell, Iowa, as president; Megan Clasen, a senior political science major from Chesterfield, Missouri, as vice president; Danielle Lawton, a junior political science major from Omaha, Nebraska, as secretary; and Taylor, a senior political science major from Gladstone, Missouri, as treasurer.

Clasen says she joined Northwest’s mock trial team because she enjoyed competing in speech and debate in high school and she aspires to become an attorney.

“I thought that mock trial would be a good way to practice skills that might be useful in my future career,” she said. “Through Mock Trial I have developed critical thinking skills, public speaking skills and the ability to think quickly on my feet. These are all essential skills for an attorney to possess, and I believe that this will help me in my future career.” 

For more information about mock trial, visit The American Mock Trial Association, or contact Smith at 660.562.1293 or


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
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