North Central’s Mock Trial team advances to national tournament

Mar 02, 2016

For the second year in a row, the North Central College Mock Trial team will advance to the American Mock Trial Association Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS).

The team earned an automatic bid to the national tournament by placing seventh in a strong field of 26 teams at the regional event in Columbus, Ohio. Out of eight judges’ ballots, the Cardinals won five, tied one, and lost only two ballots by close margins to the ultimate winner of the competition, Miami University. Representing one of the smallest colleges in the tournament, North Central’s team competed against first-place Miami University, regional host Ohio State University and Ball State University.

North Central will host and compete at the ORCS, one of eight national tournaments, scheduled for March 11-13 at the Kane County Judicial Center in St. Charles.

Mock Trial students compete in simulated trials before a panel of judges, earning scores based on critical thinking, public speaking and knowledge of legal procedure. All schools receive the same case in August and work to prepare attorney and witness roles throughout the fall and winter terms. Students perform the trial from start to finish, alternating between advocating for the prosecution and the defense, four times in one tournament weekend.

Led by coach Rebecca Koper, assistant coach Joshua Bailey ’11 and captain Samantha Guttenberg ’16, management major, the regionals team is comprised of veterans Natalie Bernier ’18, mathematics; Zackary Ledlow ’16, political science; Ross McWethy ’18, business marketing/psychology; and Emily Salomone ’18, political science. Newcomers are Michelle Sanchez Barajas ’16, psychology; Cassity Melvin ’19, political science; Eduenis Navarro ’19, computer science/IMS; Thomas Semanic ’19, political science; and Kyla Singleton ’19, history/political science. Other team members include Lucrecia Guerra Galdamez ’16, Jacob Magyar ’16, Amanda Pringle ’19, Josie Smith ’17 and Alexander Spaulding ’19.

“I am extremely proud of the tenacity and dedication of each and every member of this year’s team,” said coach Koper, a legal manager at Hyatt Corporation. “The students’ determination, hard work and perseverance were evident in their outstanding performance against some of the region’s toughest opponents. We are so excited to have earned the automatic bid to ORCS and look forward to once again hosting a superb event showcasing some of the top undergraduate mock trial teams in the nation.”

North Central College is seeking attorneys to judge one or more rounds at the St. Charles ORCS. If interested, please contact Koper at

Photo, l. to r.: Salomone, Melvin, McWethy, Ledlow, Pringle, Guttenberg, Semanic, Spaulding, Bernier, Singleton, Sanchez Barajas, Navarro