Mock Trial Makes History

During Spring Break, Dickinson’s Mock Trial team headed to Churchill Downs to compete in the Opening Round of Championships (ORC) competition. At the event, the team made history: “This is only the second time in Dickinson history that we are going to the championships,” said Margaret Wiggins ’15, who is a member of the team. According to fellow senior member Amy Fly, “the first time occurred five years ago.”

The ORC competition, which is the second of three tiers, was made up of four trials, all held in a courthouse. Dickinson’s team “competed against St. Louis University, Eastern Kentucky, Northwood and the University of Mississippi, all teams we’ve never played before because we are usually placed in an ORC in the Northeast, not the South,” said Fly. As Wiggins mentioned, “We have gone a couple times before, but this year we did much better. We had a record of 6-0 three-quarters of the way through, so we knew the chances were good.” She added, “Typically we are on the edge of our seats, so it is cool to be one of the front-runners.”

The anticipation was still high, however: “During the closing ceremony at the end, it was still suspenseful and we had to wait 30 minutes. A few teams had many of the same records, but we came in second place. Only one team was distinctly ahead of us with a 7-1 record,” said Wiggins. The wait was worth it, though. Wiggins explained, “When we found out, half the people on our team knocked their chairs over with excitement and disbelief. Nobody on the team has gotten this far before, and going to the top tier is absolutely incredible.”

Fly agreed: “For me, and all six of the seniors and our one junior on the team for that matter, this is a moment we’ve been working up to since our freshman year.” Seniors were not the only ones affected by the win: “For the freshman on the team, I imagine it is a defining moment of how good the Dickinson Mock Trial program is and what they have to continue to look forward to the next three years,” said Fly.

To prepare for the next step, the team will practice as much as possible. As Wiggins stated, “The American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) runs the competition and is doing a few things differently this year. Only 48 teams will compete and the case will be released a month before the competition.” The team’s newest case was released on Sunday, and as Fly mentioned, “it’s like we have to start from scratch not only deciding case theory and themes, but determining who will play what roles.” One thing is sure, however: “The intensity will definitely increase until then; we haven’t made our final schedule yet but we’ll probably meet three times a week, and every day the week before the competition, without a doubt,” said Wiggins.

Although the work will be hard, “we all feel motivated to work hard because we feel we have a chance to do well even against the best teams in the country. If we prepare and work diligently, we feel we can have a fighting chance in the tournament,” Wiggins stated. She continued, “it is amazing to be one of the top 48, especially considering that we are a small school with a small team.” Fly added, “Dickinson is now one of those teams people keep an eye on.”

The last round of the competition will be held in Cincinnati, OH from April 17-19.