The weekend of January 19- 20 was a busy one for several Monmouth University students, as the Mock Trial team headed up to the Bronx, NY to participate in Fordham University’s Fifth Annual Sapientia et Doctrina Invitational tournament. Monmouth sent seven team members and their faculty advisor, Professor Gregory Bordelon, to compete in the two-day tournament.
Team members included Kate Nawoyski (captain), Alexandria Todd, Susan Pagano, Joseph Dellera, Michael Lucia, Cara Turcich, and Miriam Peguero. In competing in only their second invitational, the team won two ballots, taking one round in the competition.
The tournament included four rounds. Each team took on the role of plaintiff in two rounds and defendant in two rounds.
Fordham’s tournament included participants from over 20 colleges, including previous American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) National Champions, New York University.
This is only the first year the Mock Trial team at Monmouth is in existence and only their second tournament as a team.
The team also participated in the First Annual Temple University Invitational in December. With that tournament on their record and many hours of practices and scrimmages, the team felt much stronger this time around.
Senior Lexi Todd said, “We not only held our own [at Fordham], but even won a round. It soon became clear to us that we were not the same inexperienced team that showed up to their first ever tournament a few months earlier.”
First time participant, senior Miriam Peguero, played the role of an expert witness for the team’s plaintiff side and attorney for the defense.
She remarked that they experience was great, “Especially for students who plan on attending law school.”
The team will compete in the AMTA Regional tournament on February 9-10 in Baltimore, Maryland. The team competed in this invitational in hopes of bettering their competition for regionals.
Todd noted, “Both our successes and our shortcomings of the Fordham tournament provides our team with very valuable insights into how to prepare for regional’s in two weeks.”
Heading into regionals, team advisor Professor Gregory Bordelon noted, “It is amazing how much development has come from this team, from inertly learning the rules of evidence, apprehensive of how they’d be applied in competition, to all team members feeling comfortable in their own skin to make forceful legal arguments and defend their lines of questioning in the heat of competition.”
Bordelon continues, “This team is making Monmouth proud and as the mock trial program grows and deals with a criminal problem hypothetical next year, I can only imagine how stronger it’ll become!”
This press release was prepared by Dr. Gregory Bordelon and Katelyn Nawoyski.