April 24, 2007

Cornell Mock Trial Team Finishes Third in National Competition

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The Cornell Mock Trial Organization came in second place in their division and third place of the 64 teams overall at the National Intercollegiate Championship Mock Trial Tournament held April 13 to 15 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Previously, the highest the team had been ranked in the tournament was last year when they finished in 34th place.
The Cornell team consists of a wide variety of undergraduates whose interests range from pre-law to theater and the team is coached by law students. Along with mock trial teams across the country, Cornell received the case they argued at all of their competitions in August. Then they held try-outs until several teams composed of attorneys and witnesses were put together.
Throughout the fall semester, the team attended tournaments that were primarily invitational and served to give the team members practice without the pressures of competition. According to captain Alex Bowerman ’09, this year the team was able to attend more tournaments than last year, thanks in part to private donations. According to Bowerman, practicing played a key roll in the team’s success this year.
During the spring semester, the team competed in the Finger Lakes Regional Mock Trial Competition held in Syracuse. Cornell placed fourth and was therefore able to attend the Silver Nationals Competition in Illinois. Thanks to what Coach Dylan Letrich law called the team’s “great pool of talent,” the A-team came in first place and qualified for the Nationals.
At the national competition, the team argued their case four times, twice as the defendants and twice as the plaintiffs. Each trial had two scoring judges who awarded the team six out of eight points possible. This high score earned the team second place in their highly competitive region against tournament winners University of Virginia and Harvard.
Coaches Letrich and Barry O’Connell law encouraged the team to act like “rock star mock stars.” This meant that team members had to exude confidence and believe that they were equal to their competition.
Letrich described the team’s work ethic as typical of Cornellians; he said, “At the last minute, they get it done, and they get it done well.”
Vice-President Anatoly Rozental ’09 said he “had very high expectations” coming into the season and that soon the team fell into “the zone.” This was due to a combination of new Looking ahead Bowerman said, “We’re going for first place next year,” adding, “We think we can beat [Harvard].”