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OHIO mock trial students win awards heading into regional tournament with guidance of lawyers, alumni

Published: February 7, 2022 Author: Staff reports

The Ohio University Mock Trial Team worked throughout the holiday break to prepare for a rigorous tournament schedule this semester. Over break, the 20 students on two teams met weekly to work on case materials, prepare for scrimmage trials, and adjust to case changes in this year's criminal case, “State of Midlands v. Dakota Sutcliffe.”

Due to rising COVID-19 cases across the country, the team also was challenged by being required to pivot to competing in an online platform.

“Even though it is sad to be online again, I am glad we had break to get acclimated to an online platform before our competitions started. It’s really important that things run fluidly online, and I think it will give us a leg up at regionals,” said Mock Trial Vice President Ali Gucwa.

The team found support and feedback from Mock Trial alumni Alyssa Alcorn (BSC, '16), Ryan Crowley (B.A. History, '19), Sydney Kempton (B.A. Political Science Pre-Law '20, with a history minor), and Managing Attorney of the Center for Student Legal Services Stephanie Russell-Ramos, Esq. They volunteered their time to judge inter-team scrimmages and a scrimmage against Kent State University.

On the week of Jan. 28-29, the team competed at Eastern Michigan University’s Great Lakes Invitational. Senior Ellen Gill and sophomore Liz Vinel both won Best Witness awards at the tournament with 17 ranks (judges scores), while senior Diamond Brooks was the highest-scoring attorney at the competition, winning a Best Attorney award at a perfect 20 ranks.

“I am super proud of our team performance this weekend! It was great to compete against very talented teams,” said Mock Trial President Micaela Beatham-Garcia.

OHIO’s Green Team will be competing this weekend at 1-B regionals hosted by the University of Saint Thomas, while the White Team will be competing at 1-A regionals hosted by the University of Dayton. Both teams will have the opportunity to secure a bid to the opening round of the Competition Series in March.

Assistant Director of the Center for Law, Justice and Culture in the College of Arts and Sciences and Pre-Law Advisor for The ACE Larry Hayman, Esq., serves as coach of the team.