Mock Trial teams qualify

Kyle Almond

At 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, the 2008 Great Plains Regional Mock Trial Tournament began at Washburn. When the results were tallied after two days and four rounds of competition, the two teams fielded by Washburn had qualified for the second tier of national competition.

The top two teams from the Great Plains Regional Tournament qualified to go to the American Mock Trial Association National Championship Tournament hosted this year by Hamline University in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn. Teams placing third through eighth earn berths in other national tournaments, sometimes referred to as “Silver Nationals” to distinguish them from the championship “Gold Nationals.”

One of the two teams fielded by Washburn placed third at the regional tournament and the other placed eighth. Other schools that qualified from the Great Plain Regional Tournament include the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the University of Colorado and the University of Kansas, all of which placed lower than at least one of the Washburn teams.

This is the third time Washburn has had a team qualify for the national tournament in the past four years, an impressive feat for any team. The relative youth of the team is what made this year’s qualification so impressive.

A mock trial team consists of six to eight players, six of whom compete in any given round. Across the two Washburn teams are only four veteran players, and the rest of the spots are filled by people in their first year of mock trial. The returning players are Mike Kerls, Josh Maples, Dave Thoman and Jenna Seematter.

“I am really looking forward to the experience of going to nationals,” said Heather Gelsinger, a junior in her first year of mock trial. “I just hope to have fun and represent Washburn well.”

Both of Washburn’s teams will compete in the Northwestern University 2008 National Tournament March 14-16 at Northwestern University in Waukegan, Ill.