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OHIO Mock Trial selects 2021-22 team, prepares for fall competitions

Published: September 29, 2021 Author: Staff reports

The Ohio University Mock Trial Team selected 20 students — eight of them first-years — for two teams and immediately set to work getting ready to compete this academic year.

The white and green teams both head to tournaments on Oct. 23-24, but in different states.

The Green Team will compete at the Scarlet and Grey Invitational Tournament hosted by Ohio State University, and the White Team will go to the Mizzou Tournament hosted by the University of Missouri.

“After a year online, it’s exciting to have the opportunity to be competing in person again. I’m looking forward to building off of last year’s successes and growing the program,” said Mock Trial Team President Micaela Beatham-Garcia, a College of Arts & Sciences senior political science and global studies double major with a Certificate in Law, Justice & Culture.

Tryouts for the team occurred in early September, where students were required to prepare and deliver a three-minute speech on a selected topic. At the conclusion of their prepared remarks, students were asked questions about their speech topic in a similar style to cross examination. This year, students also were asked to become familiar with a witness statement so that students more interested in character development as witnesses would have an opportunity to display those skills.

“I am overjoyed by the work first-time members have put into this case. Their natural talent is evident and makes me excited for the season ahead of us,” said Mock Trial Team Vice President Ali Gucwa, a senior studying environmental pre-law and political science.

The Mock Trial Executive Board along with coach and attorney-adviser Larry Hayman, Esq., pre-law advisor at the Center for Law, Justice & Culture and The ACE, selected students for the team.

This is the seventh year for the Ohio University Mock Trial Team, a student organization affiliated with the Center for Law, Justice & Culture. The team competes with other teams from 350 colleges in the American Mock Trial Association, including teams from Ohio State, Miami University, University of Dayton, Case Western Reserve University, and more.

Mock Trial is open to students from all majors and interests. Participation on the team helps students to develop public speaking skills, team building skills, critical thinking skills, and professionalism. During a competition, teams are asked to develop and present a case from witness statements and evidence. Team members act as both lawyers and witnesses to present direct examinations, cross examinations, opening statements, and closing statements.

Students selected for the 2021-2022 Mock Trial Team are:

  • Elena Baker, a first-year studying sociology-criminology
  • Micaela Beatham-Garcia, a senior studying political science pre-law and global studies
  • Nick Bohuslawsky, a junior studying political science pre-law
  • Diamond Brooks, a senior studying Honors Tutorial College political science
  • Zachary Donaldson, a first-year political science student
  • Michael Ferris, a senior studying communication and world religions
  • Ellen Gill, a senior studying English pre-law and sociology criminology with certificates in Law, Justice & Culture, and Strategic Leadership
  • Ali Gucwa, a senior majoring in environmental pre-law and political science
  • Leighton Heiner, a first-year studying philosophy pre-law
  • Luke Kania, a first-year studying political science and philosophy
  • Hannah Louck, a sophomore studying history and sociology
  • Casey Patterson, a sophomore studying political science
  • Carly Richardson, a first-year exploratory major with a Spanish minor
  • Riley Sargent, a first-year studying political science pre-law
  • Jonas Lincoln Schaaf, a junior studying sociology
  • Colin Schilf, a sophomore studying Honors Tutorial College physics
  • Taylor Schnieder, a first-year studying Honors Tutorial College communications
  • Axle Stafford, a first-year studying sociology pre-law
  • Megan Taylor, a sophomore studying history pre-law
  • Liz Vinel, a sophomore studying political science pre-law

"I am thrilled that the team will have an opportunity to get back into the courtroom after a year of competing virtually," Hayman said. "While the virtual format provided a wonderful opportunity to be able to continue to compete, it lacked the opportunity for students to develop their courtroom presence and in-person litigation techniques. I look forward to working with the students to develop them over the next year."

The team will spend the next several months preparing for their first regional tournament in February 2022 by scrimmaging in front of OHIO alumni attorneys and attending invitational tournaments.