IU’s A mock trial team placed 10th out of 24 teams at Great American Mock Trial Invitational in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 2-3. This was the team’s first invitation to the tournament.
Great American Mock Trial Invitational, GAMTI, was hosted by the University of Virginia. It was the 20th annual tournament and the first held in Washington, D.C. since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two rounds were held Saturday, Dec. 2, and two more rounds were held Sunday, Dec. 3. IU junior Adelaide Young Brust and senior Ana Gaston won outstanding witness awards, and sophomore Sophia Gershman won an outstanding attorney award.
This season’s A team has four other competitors: Audrey Engel, Maddie Mischak, Isabelle Arnold and Madison Rossillo. Arnold and Rossillo are both captains. IU has two other teams, Goose and Meatball, which also compete in tournaments throughout the year.
According to the American Mock Trial Association, or AMTA, over 400 colleges and universities have mock trial teams. An estimated 7,300 undergraduate students compete each year.
Teams generally consist of eight to 10 students, and cases alternate between civil and criminal cases each year. This year’s case was criminal.
“Mock trial is fundamentally exactly what it sounds like. It’s a fake trial that you put on,” Karen Sun, GAMTI’s tournament director, said.
Sun is a senior at the University of Virginia studying political and social thought and history and is a four-year competitor on the university’s A mock trial team.
She said mock trial rounds consist of opening speeches, case presentations and cross-examinations. A team wins a round by winning the most points from a judge.
“It's through your speeches, through your witnesses and through your cross-examinations that you build an argument throughout the round,” Sun said.
Gaston, a competitor on IU’s A team, said mock trial is a learning experience for students, regardless of major or career plans.
“It is an activity that helps students build argumentation skills,” she said.
She said mock trial is an opportunity for students to learn about rules of evidence, how to make objections and write components of a trial.
“You learn about the law, but you also improve acting and public speaking skills,” she said.
IU’s A team is ranked 40th in the 2023-24 AMTA Team Power Rankings this year, which includes over 250 teams from college and universities across the country.
The team placed second at three previous invitationals this season: the Golden Dome Invitational at the University of Notre Dame Oct. 7-8, the Happy Valley Invitational at Penn State University Oct. 21-22 and Badger the Witness at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Nov. 18-19.
IU will compete in the Great Chicago Fire Invitational at the University of Chicago Jan. 20-21 and host the Hoosier Hoedown Jan. 27-28 before competing at regionals.