Pioneer Mock Trial Team earns top witness award

Written by Ruth Wendlandt on Tue, 11/03/2020 - 15:11 |

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Mock Trial Team participated in its first invitational tournament of the season and received a top witness award. “Testing the Waters” tournament took place virtually from Oct.16-18 and featured 12 colleges from across the country.

“The students worked really hard. They did really well. We faced some really tough teams,” said Kyle Reimann, J.D., lecturer of criminal justice at UW-Platteville and a criminal defense attorney. “To earn the top witness award is big. In every tournament we have competed in since last year, we have won a trophy. It’s important for motivation and for the students to get recognized for the good work they are doing.”

Emily Stegich, who joined the Mock Trial Team this year, portrayed the witness and tied with the highest score in the entire tournament of 17 points.

“To win a top witness award at my first ever Mock Trial competition was such an amazing feeling,” said Stegich, a senior who is double majoring in forensic investigation and chemistry from Morton Grove, Illinois. “We worked hard all week to prepare, and it felt good to know the hard work paid off. I could not have done it without the help from all my teammates; they have really helped me understand how Mock Trial works. They have helped me immensely.”

The four-round tournament consisted of trial simulations where each team is given two rounds as the plaintiff and defense. Mock Trial teams from across the nation all receive the same case problem. This year, it is a civil case. To prepare for the challenges of competing in a new environment, Reimann said his team learned to adapt with practice and repetition.

“My goal for them was to get through the virtual tournament format and to figure out how to best do it,” he said. “The secondary goal was to get through the case, to see where we were as a team and what we could improve on, and we did.”

It’s still early in the season for the Pioneer Mock Trial Team, with its next scheduled tournaments being in January and February. The team continues to work on the civil case by practicing together for nine hours a week. According to Reimann, the students are learning a variety of skills from analytical and critical thinking to public speaking.

“We have students from many different disciplines. We have engineering, political science, criminal justice, forensic investigation and chemistry students,” he said. “The skills you learn by participating in Mock Trial are skills you will use no matter what your job is.”

For Stegich, she’s looking forward to all the future competitions. “We improve every day. I can't wait to watch our improvement as the season goes on,” she said. “Mock Trial has been such a great experience for me our team works so well together. I can't wait to see what the rest of the season has in store.”

To learn more about Mock Trial, contact Kyle Reimann, reimannk@uwplatt.edu.