Baylor Mock Trial Team Ranks Second In Nation

Nov. 15, 2000

by Alan Hunt

Competing in New York, the Baylor Mock Trial Team won second place in the recent Tournament of Champions, sponsored by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA).

Team coach Professor Gerald Powell said the event is an invitational competition and "perhaps the most prestigious" of the national mock trial tournaments. "NITA invites the top 16 mock trial schools in the country, based upon previous records at the National Trial Competition and the American Trial Lawyers Association Competition."

Powell said congratulations are in order for the Baylor team for "a superlative performance." The team members are Wade Faulkner of Vernon, Libby Ketelers of Richmond, Zollie Steakley of Sweetwater and Rhonda Thompson of Waco. The team is coached by Adjunct Professor Kathy Serr and Professors Mark Osler and Powell.

Powell said the four judges of the final round split in the voting, 2-2. "In order to break the tie they went to speaker points, and so Baylor lost the tiebreaker by two speaker points," he said. Rhonda Thompson was named the top advocate in the competition.

Serr said, "This was really a history-making win for the mock trial team. This was the best we have done in any competition of this caliber. We were competing against some of the top teams in the nation."

She said the students participated in an imaginary criminal trial "based loosely" on the Rodney King beating trial. "The students are not informed which side they will represent until right before the trial begins," she added. "We were prepared for both sides. For each round we argued a different side."

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