Mock Trial team advances to Opening Round Championship

Mar 09, 2015

For the first time since 2010, the North Central College Mock Trial team will advance to the American Mock Trial Association Opening Round Championship national tournament March 20-22.

The team earned a bid by placing ninth in a strong field of 26 teams at the regional competition, held at the Will County Courthouse in February. Students won five of eight judges’ ballots against four teams: Loyola University, Lake Forest College, Northwood College and Benedictine University. Senior philosophy major Brandon Sarkauskas, of Aurora, took home an All-Region Outstanding Attorney award for his performance.

The regional team included captain Samantha Guttenberg ’15, majoring in management; Sarkauskas; Jacob Magyar ’16, majoring in Spanish; Ross McWethy ’18, majoring in marketing; Natalie Bernier ’18, majoring in mathematics; and political science majors Zackary Ledlow ’16, Emily Salomone ’18, Adam Sehr ’16 and Christopher Danielson ’16.

North Central will do more than compete in the Opening Round Championship Series. For the first time in its history, the College was selected to host one of eight Opening Round Championship national tournaments to be held at the Kane County Judicial Center. Twenty-four of the best undergraduate Mock Trial teams in the Midwest will be competing in this four-round tournament.

Students will compete in simulated trials before a panel of judges, earning scores based on critical thinking, public speaking and knowledge of legal procedure. In August 2014, all schools received the same case and worked to prepare attorney and witness roles throughout the fall and winter terms. On March 20-22, students will perform the trial, start to finish, four times in one tournament.

About the team’s success, North Central attorney coach Ronald B. Kowalczyk, a partner at Kowalczyk Law Offices, P.C., says, “These students should be immensely proud of their accomplishment. To be invited to compete at the first tournament we are hosting, alongside powerhouse teams from Northwestern University, the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan, is a huge honor. We look forward to putting on an outstanding tournament for nationally ranked teams from seven states.”

The team is coached by Kowalczyk, Rebecca Koper, a legal manager at Hyatt Corporation, and Josh Bailey ’11.

North Central is currently seeking attorneys to judge one or more rounds at the national competition. If interested, please contact Kowalczyk at