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The Carletonian

Mock Trial teams advance to national semifinals, win SPAMTA

<st week, the Carleton Mock Trial team placed and was recognized for stellar performance in the first round of an American Mock Trial Association competition series.

The tournament, which was hosted by Hamline University in St. Paul, was one of 29 across the country and Carleton’s team was one of around 800 nationally. The top eight teams from each competition advance to the Opening Round Championships (ORCS), the equivalent of a national semi-finals competition.

Carleton’s “A” team placed in the top eight and their “B” team earned a wild card—a progression to the ORCS competition—after missing the top eight. They will be competing ninth weekend at an OCRS competition hosted by Cornell College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This is the first time in Carleton history both teams have advanced to the competition.

Carleton’s team also won the Spirit of the American Mock Trial Association (SPAMTA) award, a recognition of teams’ good sportsmanship.

“I am incredibly proud of the team this year,” said JP Beaty ’19, Program Captain of Team 1061, Mock Trial’s “A” team.

“Across the board, this has been one of our best seasons of all time, and I have a few possible reasons for that. We’ve had a few good years of recruiting where we’ve had people join the team and stay on for a good period of time, so we had a mature ‘A’ team that has worked with each other for years now.”

Beaty also mentioned that this influx of experienced team members has led to a reliable group of people prepared to train new team members.

“We had a super successful fall and played a lot of fantastic teams, so all of the new people were exposed to great Mock Trial early on,” he said.

According to Beaty, the “B” team had the members and experience to make it competitive, but they had to work hard to get to ORCS.

“I know they had a stumbling at their first invitational tournament, leaving with a losing record, but that seemed to encourage our ‘B’ team to work harder and that hard work really paid off,” Beaty said. “It helped that they had two wonderful captains, Molly Zuckerman ’22 and Emma Thomley ’20, who helped the team focus and get to a place they wanted to be.”

Zuckerman ’22 explained that, as “B” team captain, she is responsible for writing material for competitions, running practices and deciding team strategy. She emphasized the team’s commitment as one of the factors leading to both teams advancing to ORCS.

“One thing that has made it possible for us to get this far has been the amazing level of commitment that each member of our team has shown to Mock Trial,” she said.

“It’s been incredible to watch. Every single member is eager to improve, excited to learn more, dedicated to the team. In my experience with competitive academic activities, this level of commitment and dedication is really special and sometimes hard to find.”

Going into OCRS, Zuckerman wants her team to learn as much as possible from the experience.

“No one expected us to reach this point,” she said. “Now that we have, I want them to learn as much as they can from the competition and at the end of the tournament, feel proud of themselves. Personally, though, I’d like to improve my closing arguments.”

Courtney Kimmell ’20, another “A” team captain, emphasized positive team spirit as one of the most important factors going into ORCS.

“I hope that JP and I can serve as sources of encouragement and support for the team,” she said. “Before every round, JP and I give the team a pep-talk and lead some exercises to help with the nerves. One thing we started this year was positive affirmations, where we go around in a circle, and one person makes eye contact with another person next to them and says something like ‘this round will be great.’ Then, that person who listened turns to do the same thing to the member standing next to them.”

Kimmell stated three main goals for OCRS: “Do the best we can to win SPAMTA, stay positive and have fun.”

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