Mock Trial ends season without bid to nationals

Travis Perry

For only the second time in two decades, the Washburn mock trial team did not gain a bid to the national competition.

The last year in which the team failed to gain an invitation to either Silver or Gold Flight Nationals was 1993. This year mock trial placed 8th at the regional tournament, which was held on campus Feb. 16.

Rob Bauer, three year veteran and one of seven seniors who will be leaving the team, said while they didn’t do as well as they would have liked to this season, he was still proud of how the team worked together.

“I’m proud of how hard we work. Everybody really comes together to make sure everybody’s at the top of their game,” said Bauer.

Steven Cann, mock trial coach and political science professor, said he couldn’t remember a year when they had lost seven seniors, but he wasn’t concerned about the future of the team.

“Washburn seems to have an endless supply of students who pick Washburn for Washburn Law School,” said Cann. “And somehow, they find out about mock trial.”

The case handled this season was a civil case, alleging excessive use of force by a police officer who had shot an unarmed suspect. Each team plays both sides of every case.

“I enjoyed the defense side, but I think that was because of my role,” said Bauer. “On the defense side I was the opening attorney and gave the opening statements.”

Bauer said cases are written by law students or former mock trial participants.

Some of the tougher opponents the team faced this year included University of Kansas, Drake University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Cann said that while they regularly do well against local opponents such as UMKC, Creighton and Avila, the inability of the team to travel across the nation to face other teams due to funding has proved to be somewhat of a hurdle. While their performance at the regional tournament was a bit of a letdown, Cann is still very proud of the team.

“We have a bunch of really talented kids,” said Cann. “They just really work hard.”

While the regional tournament is routinely held at Washburn, Cann said there isn’t much of a home field advantage.

For students interested in attending law school, both Cann and Bauer said mock trial is a great way to be prepared for the rigorous work expected of law students.