Skimming money, robbery at knifepoint, and murder are a few topics of interest for Colorado College’s new Mock Trial team.
On February 14th, the team arrived in Topeka, Kansas at Washburn University of Law for a regional tournament following months of preparation and invitational tournaments. On February 16th the seven members of Colorado College’s Mock Trial A Team came away with a well-earned victory.
Senior Taylor Kelson began discussing the possibility of a Colorado College Mock Trial team with individuals in the administration such as Dean Mike Edmonds this past spring. Kelson, who participated in Mock Trial throughout his entire time at Lakewood High School in Lakewood, Colorado, decided to create the team after seeing many of his friends continue their involvement through their college careers.
“There was no reason CC shouldn’t have a successful Mock Trial program. All of our peer institutions that are preparing students for law school and anything else have successful mock trial teams” said Kelson. After receiving the administration’s nod of approval, Kelson went to work and at the recommendation of Dean Mike Edmunds, found the team’s current coach, a CC alum and El Paso County Judge: Judge Regina Walter.
Judge Walter successfully coached Palmer High School’s Mock Trial team for six years. Kelson said, “This past year she decided she was done the high school level of mock trial but wanted to continue coaching.”
Under Kelson and Judge Walter’s leadership, the team held tryouts during the second week of the fall semester. Although they were initially looking for students who had previous mock trial experience, Kelson notes that only four of the seven members had participated in mock trial before college.
The team practices six to eight hours a week and competed at three invitational tournaments before their first regional tournament in Topeka. The team kicked off the year with an invitational tournament at Air Force Academy and continued to branch out of state towards the University of Illinois and the University of St. Francis.
College mock trial operates differently than its high school counterpart. The case is much more extensive: ranging between 150 and 200 pages with many more witnesses. Whereas in high school Mock Trial, each state would be given a unique case, college teams work with the same case and as tournaments, both invitational and region go on, the case receives slight changes.
As CC’s team has just begun, they have included first-years and sophomores in their lineup, something that’s unheard of for other college Mock Trial programs across the country. Not only that, but one of those younger classmen, first-year Corey Baron, earned the attorney award. In addition, juniors Aish Raja and Alex McDonald earned witness awards, making for an all around successful weekend in Topeka.
Over this coming spring break, the CC Mock Trial team will be touching down in St. Louis to compete against 24 other teams hailing from the core of the nation including University of Colorado Boulder, University of California at Berkley, and the University of Illinois. “At the level we have advanced to now, it is roughly the top 200 teams in the country. Every round is going to be really close, and often it’s going to be really hard to know who won,” Kelson said.
From there, the top six teams will advance to the National Championship but more importantly the team looks forward to this coming semester. “I expect that our success this year will hopefully be generating a lot more interest for next year and hopefully we will have a couple teams competing under CC’s team.”
The team will hold tryouts this coming fall semester and will have a booth at the Campus Activities fair, in addition to utilizing many mediums for advertising.