Mock Trial Team Wins National Championship

There’s an old saying that dynamite comes in small packages. Although representing a small university, the William Woods mock trial teams proved to be dynamite when they swept the National Mock Trial Championship during the Phi Alpha Delta Pre-law Conference and Mock Trial Competition in Chicago Nov. 7-9.

Beating out four-person teams from the University of Arizona, University of Arkansas, University of New Mexico, Pepperdine University, Concord College, InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico and Pasadena City College, WWU’s two teams claimed both first and second place.

National champions and first place winners were members of WWU Team 1: Adam Mulari of Omaha, Neb., Rebecca Eye of Kimberling, Mo., Nick Coleman of Salem, Ark., and Caroline Barber of Oakland, Calif. Both Coleman and Eye were also named Outstanding Defense Team Winners.

Mulari, team captain and WWU Phi Alpha Delta chapter president, said that he was “proud of the effort everyone put in and how everyone did their part.”

Placing second in the competition were members of WWU Team 2: Ty Flanders of Waynesville, Mo., Mandy Lambert of Jefferson City, Mo., Sarah Brison of New Bloomfield, Mo., and Brent Slapper of Leavenworth, Kan.

“I think it was great how we did,” commented Flanders, a WWU sophomore and Team 2 team captain. “But I was surprised at how well we placed since we were competing against some very strong teams.”

Also in attendance and representing William Woods were Andrea Rosser, Samantha Naftz, Ryan Mansfield and Crystal Goeringer.

Given only five to six weeks to prepare their case for the conference, the teams prepped, studied and practiced before the competition. The WWU Phi Alpha Delta chapter even held a “Death by Chocolate” fund raiser, selling chocolate desserts and candies, to help pay members’ expenses to attend the conference and competition.

“Everyone really pulled together to make this succeed,” remarked Mulari.
Competing in four rounds at the conference, the WWU teams faced opponents from schools up to 20 times the size of William Woods and prevailed. In the final round of competition, the two William Woods teams went head to head.

Overall, the first place team won with a total of 645 points, while Team 2 placed second with 586 points. Based on a point-value system where points are awarded for opening and closing arguments, witnesses, questioning and objections, teams could earn a total of 180 points per round.

“We have only been participating in mock trials for three years, so this is very impressive,” explained Mulari. “This is something good for the university to promote, especially regarding recruitment of prospective students.”

The next mock trial competition that Phi Alpha Delta will attend is the American Mock Trial Association competition in February.

The Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Conference and Mock Trial competition was part of the Phi Alpha Delta International Centennial celebration. Phi Alpha Delta is the largest legal fraternity in the world. The pre-law division was started in 1980 and there are currently more than 200 chapters in colleges and universities internationally. More than 20 chapters were represented at the conference, with 10 competing in the mock trial competition.