Mock trial earns 2 big wins

The Cornell College mock trial team wraps up its regular season and heads into the championship portion of the season with a couple of big wins.

The team took first place against more than 50 teams in the 30th National Mock Trial Invitational tournament at Loras College in Dubuque, Jan. 26–27, beating out teams such as Notre Dame, Illinois State, and Grinnell with their perfect score of eight wins and zero losses.

Students also recently received a bid to the next round of the National Championship Tournament series for their work at a match Feb. 17–18 at Hotel Kirkwood in Cedar Rapids. Maddie Huntzinger ’21 and Kayla Boyd ’18 were both recognized as outstanding attorneys earning 17 out of 20 ranks for their portrayals.

The team will compete next on March 16–18 in Geneva, Illinois. Out of the 24 teams at that tournament, six will then move on to compete at the final tournament, the National Championship Tournament in St. Paul, Minnesota in April.

Mock Trial Coach Abbe Stensland says the competition season is a lot like the NCAA basketball tournament with successive rounds of elimination.

“The important difference is that mock trial is not tiered like intercollegiate athletics, so Cornell competes against all types of schools, from Harvard and Yale to the University of Iowa and everything in between,” Stensland said.

She’s proud of everything the students have accomplished.

“Mock trial requires a lot of time and commitment from the students,” Stensland said. “The learning curve is very steep for our new members, and this year we had a lot of new members who joined us. I have been very impressed by the work ethic and commitment to excellence from our whole team.”

Kimberly Cuevas ’20 is new to the team and loves every minute of competing.

“Competing in mock trial is exhilarating,” she said. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to learn new things that will be useful for my future career. I also enjoy meeting many interesting young adults, not just in my team but at the tournaments as well. We are all working hard with the same goal in mind. The competitiveness is great and the victories are even sweeter!”

This year the students are arguing a criminal case. The American Mock Trial Association (AMTA), the governing body for undergraduate collegiate mock trial, rotates the cases so that students have a civil case one year and a criminal case the next. This year’s case is based on a charge of attempted murder.

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