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Mock Trial Team Defeats Harvard

November 17th, 2009

By Erin Pradia

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722
OfficeOfCommunications@phc.edu

One of PHC's mock trial teams, which tied for third place at Elon University earlier in the semester: (L-R) Aidan Grano, Erin Pradia, Joseph Alm, Krystal Brunner, Priscilla Stout, Ben Sayre, Christopher Lore, Jenna Lorence, and James Mieding

A PHC mock trial team beat Harvard University and Boston College in an intense tournament held at Harvard University in Massachusetts the weekend of November 7-8. PHC won four ballots in their first two rounds then lost four ballots to Brown University and the University of Illinois.

The division also included teams from Elgin College, and the universities of Princeton, Massachusetts, Villanova, Wake Forest and Yale.

“When word got around that Harvard was ‘crushed’ by PHC, and the Harvard team learned this was only PHC’s second year doing mock trial, they were shocked,” Pettus said.

While the invitational tournaments this fall do not qualify teams for the national tournament, they do help them gain overall experience in mock trial, familiarity with this year’s case, and a sense for how to work together as a team.

“When everyone on the team is on the same page throughout a round, the result is incredible," said Pettus.

Dr. Guliuzza and the PHC mock trial team will continue to polish their cases to prepare for regional qualifier tournaments in the spring.

“I believe the team learned a lot that will help us as we go down the road,” Guliuzza said.

“I know my co-counsels and I learned a ton this tournament. We see ways to change our examinations and new approaches to the case,” Pettus said. “It’s exciting to see what can be done, and we’re ready to hit the ground running come regionals in February.”

Teamwork is vital to success in the world of mock trial. The more the team thinks and reacts as one entity, the more solid its performance will be.

“Mock trial is unique among forensic activities because it requires a team of six people to speak, think, and respond on the fly as a unit,” Pettus said. “To present a clear case, every attorney and witness has to listen to which objections are sustained and the other team’s theory of the case and change their own parts accordingly.”

Guliuzza said students who are interested in joining the mock trial team will have an opportunity again to audition to participate in the spring at the end of this semester. After two solid tournaments this semester, hopes are high for the spring semester, and the PHC mock trial team is prepared to rise to the challenge.

“I intend to take a team to Nationals this year, something PHC has never done before. And I intend to place there,” Pettus said. “Dr. Guliuzza had predicted it would take two years for him to have a nationally recognized team out of PHC. This is year two. So let’s do it.”