by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson
A jubilant hashtag popped up last month on social media as results poured in from the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA)’s final regional tournaments. It was #RoadtoCincinnati, and it represented the buoyant spirit that lit up Facebook and Twitter, as teams from across the nation readied themselves for the AMTA’s 2015 championship in Ohio.
With good reason. More than 300 teams from universities and colleges big and small had battled it out in regional tournaments throughout the year, taking on the roles of attorneys and witnesses for simulated court cases. Panels of judges had rated each team, based on team members’ knowledge of the fictional case, their speech skills, team strategy and improvised responses to the other team’s case, and based on their results, only 48 teams qualified for the nationals. Dickinson’s team was among them, and it was only the second in the college’s recent memory to advance to the championship, held this year at the University of Cincinnati.
During the qualifying regional championship in Louisville, Ky., Dickinson also was awarded the Spirit of AMTA Award, granted to the team that “best exemplifies the ideals of honesty, civility and fair play,” and mock trial veterans Kirsten Dedrickson ’15 (philosophy and computer science) and Eric Neumeister ’15 (international studies) each were awarded “Best Attorney” honors.
At the championship, the 48 qualifying teams were divided into two “divisions.” Dickinson’s division included the hosting university, four-time tournament champions University of California-Los Angeles, as well as Princeton, Yale, Boston and Vanderbilt universities; the University of Notre Dame; the University of California-Berkeley; and Cornell College.
After a 2-1 loss to Ohio State on Saturday morning, the Dickinson team bounced back with a 2-1 victory over the University of South Carolina. The team then lost in the final round to past championship winner Howard University. After all of the tallies were totaled, the top-scoring teams from each division—Harvard and Yale—faced off in the AMTA’s final round, with Harvard being named winner.
According to Dickinson's mock trial faculty mentor, Associate Professor of Political Science Douglas Edlin, the chance to compete at this level was a great point of pride, particularly given the fact that the team competed against large institutions with much bigger talent pools. “It has been great just to see this team have the chance to do this together one more time, particularly this incredible group of seniors,” he said.
Published April 30, 2015