Mock Trial Team Competes at Illinois-Champaign

Nov. 6, 2017 | Joliet, Ill.

Competing at the University of Illinois-Champaign Mock Trial Tournament: Lina Medo, Chas Heintzelman, Jim Richmond, Paige Speelman, Danny Black, Courtney Joyce, Tyler Dome, Jake Hulbert, Brice Haselhorst and Chloe Daugherty.

The University of St. Francis Mock Trial Team kicked off their 2017-18 season at the ultra-competitive, 28-team Illinois-Champaign Invitational on November 4-5. Top teams in the nation competed, including Rhodes, Indiana University/Purdue University, University of Missouri and the event host, Illinois-Champaign. Only one student from last year’s Mock Trial Team, Courtney Joyce, returned this year, so it was the first competition for the other nine students: Danny Black, Chloe Daugherty, Tyler Dome, Brice Haselhorst, Chas Heintzelman, Jake Hulbert, Lina Medo, Jim Richmond and Paige Speelman.

USF faculty member Dr. Janet Brewer is the team’s educator/coach while alumnus Martin Shanahan ’94 was recently added as attorney/coach.

Over the course of the weekend, USF matched up against Western Illinois University, Western Michigan, Indiana University/Purdue University-Indianapolis and Olivet University. Despite the final results, USF battled to the bitter end.

“We would have liked to win a few more ballots. Despite the overwhelming odds, Dr. Brewer and I are both pleased with the performance and achievement of our University of St. Francis Mock Trial Team. Even knowing the results of the first three rounds, the team still practiced before the start of Round 4 on Sunday afternoon. It showed the true dedication and never-give-up mentality of our students,” said Shanahan.

Medo was named as an outstanding (individual) witness on seven of the eight ballots.

“I think this was a great first experience for not only me, but for the whole team as well. We still have a lot to work on but the only direction we can go from here is up,” she said.

Joyce, who was recently named team captain, stated, “I am so proud of how we did on our first competition. We have a lot of things to improve on but I am certain we are headed in the right direction.”

Black, a freshman, gave the opening statement as a prosecution attorney and said “this was my first time ever competing in mock trial at any level so I was not sure what to expect. After completing two trials I feel much more confident heading in to the rest of the season.”

The USF team departed USF on Friday, then competed all day Saturday and all day Sunday, adding up to a grueling weekend. According to their coaches, by Sunday night, the students were mentally exhausted.

“Spending all weekend at an academic competition at such a high level is only for the most dedicated,” expressed Shanahan.

Added Brewer, “This year’s criminal case is a challenging attempted murder trial, and students had to assimilate a vast amount of legal knowledge as to criminal procedure, criminal law, trial techniques and rules of evidence very quickly. Overall, the trials that they put on this early in the season were impressive.”

Mock Trial is an academic competition without differential classifications. As such, smaller enrollment schools like St. Francis compete on an even keel with schools such as University of Illinois-Champaign and Purdue University, who each have enrollments of over 30,000 undergraduate students.