Mock trial team advances

Mock trial team advances A team of University of South Dakota students have qualified for the championship round of the National Mock Trial Tournament to be held at Drake University in Des Moines, IA on April 9-11.

USD's seven-member team of criminal justice and political science students was among 300 teams to compete in regional tournaments across the country. USD competed against 19 midwest university teams at the regional tournament held in February in Kansas City. Only the top three teams in each regional qualified for the championship round at the nationals. USD placed third behind Drake University and The University of Kansas.

"Actually, we beat Drake and tied with Kansas in earlier rounds, so the quality of the performance among the top three teams was very close," said Grant Walker, a team member from Shelby.

Other USD team members included Dan Rath of Aberdeen, Jeremy Nauman of Spearfish, Meghan Hoppe of Watertown, Jonathan Spader of Vermillion, Katherine DeKam of Pipestone, MN and Amy Ellis of Whiting, IA.

Besides the team award, three members of the team won individual awards in the field of 133 students. DeKam and Ellis each won a Top Ten Witness Award and Spader won a Top Ten Attorney Award.

According to Hoppe, the mock trial competition helped her better understand the judicial system while building important presentation skills.

"Participating in the mock trial competition has helped me develop my public speaking skills including my ability to speak while on my feet," she said.

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