Mock Trial Team takes home top individual awards at regionals

groups of college students posing, smiling with gavels
Mercer's Mock Trial Team

MACON — Mercer University’s Mock Trial Team took home several top individual awards at the Regional Tournament hosted by the Mississippi College of Law in Jackson, Mississippi, Feb. 16-18. Twenty-one teams of approximately 10 students each competed in the tournament sponsored by the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA).

Sophomore Kasey Hoyt, a journalism, political science and theatre major, and Hashir Sardar, an exchange student from Pakistan, won Outstanding Witness Awards. Undeclared sophomore Erin Williams won an Outstanding Attorney Award.

These individual awards are impressive “given the number of students competing and the caliber of the schools we were going up against,” said Dr. Lori Johnson, faculty advisor and professor of political science.

“The team worked really hard all year long and supported each other in every competition,” said Dr. Johnson. “I am very proud of how well they worked together and what they accomplished, especially competing against teams like University of Georgia, University of Alabama, Auburn and Ole Miss.”

“We went up against several nationally ranked and talented teams,” said Team Vice President Emma Page. “It took hours of strategizing and theorizing, and I am so proud of (our) teams’ performances.”

AMTA serves as the governing body for intercollegiate mock trial competition and explains on its website that, “through engaging in trial simulations in competition with teams from other institutions, students develop critical thinking and public speaking skills, as well as a knowledge of legal practices and procedures.”

Dr. Johnson said she doesn’t think most people realize the scope and level of the competitive undergraduate mock trial program nationally. According to the AMTA, approximately 700 teams from more than 400 universities and colleges compete in these tournaments across the country.

Earlier this season, several members of the Mercer Mock Trial Team also won individual awards at invitational tournaments sponsored by other universities.

At the 13th Annual Owl Classic at Kennesaw State, sophomore Carson Michael, a political science major, and Williams won Outstanding Attorney Awards, and sophomore Annie Potts, a biology and global health studies major, and Hoyt won Outstanding Witness Awards.

At the 13th Annual Capital City Invitational at Florida State University, Williams won an Outstanding Attorney Award and Potts won an Outstanding Witness Award. Dr. Johnson said the team is grateful to Dean Karen Sneddon and the Mercer Law School for sponsoring their travel and lodging for the FSU tournament.

“We’ve competed against some of the biggest names in mock trial,” said Team President Erin Sweat. “It has been the highest honor to see this team succeed and to be the person leading the charge.”