Coming off of a successful season, the Cal Poly Pomona Mock Trial team has qualified to participate in the national competition.
Over Valentine’s Day weekend, the team competed in regionals at Fresno State University and placed in the top five. This is only the third time in the team’s history that it has secured a spot in the national competition.
Additionally, the team received an individual attorney award, an individual witness award, and the Spirit of AMTA team award. Fellow competitors awarded it to the Cal Poly Pomona team who exemplified the ideals of kindness, fairness, civility, and fair play. The team was the only California State University who qualified to go to nationals, beating out Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Fresno State, and Sonoma State.
Throughout the season, the team has competed against some of the highest ranked teams in the country, including Columbia, Pepperdine and Vanderbilt. The team has won many distinctions, including an honorable mention at UCLA’s mock trial tournament held Jan. 17-19. Teammates Andrew Rodriguez and Ashling Kelly each received an individual top attorney award, making Cal Poly Pomona the only school to win two attorney awards. At Stanford University’s Mock Trial Invitational on Jan. 24-25, Kelly took home the perfect attorney award, making her the highest ranked attorney at the entire competition.
Cal Poly Pomona’s Mock Trial team consists of 18 students and advisor Raul Sabado, an alumnus and lawyer in Claremont. While on the team, students learn how to direct and participate in a single case, taking on roles as attorneys and witnesses. This year’s civil case involved a fatal shooting between two minors, with the victim’s parents filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the shooter’s parents.
In competition, they alternate between representing the prosecution and the defense. Because there are no scripts, the team members must be able to recall information about the case instantly and think on the spot. Through the experience, they learn about American civil and criminal law.
Rodriguez, mock trial president and a philosophy student, says that the team is ready to take on the national competition.
“We placed against some of the top teams in the nation, including the returning national champion UCLA, so we are very excited,” he says. “For us, it means that we can make any vision or dream come true when we work together and show sincere effort and honest intentions. To prepare for nationals, we are fine tuning our performances, and working smart to improve our weaker areas as a team.”
The national competition will be held April 17-19 at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio.