The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Mock Trial team successful at Temple University tournament

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The Lafayette Mock Trial team is one of the top 45 teams in the country. (Photo courtesy of @lafmocktrial on Instagram)

The Lafayette Mock Trial team came back to College Hill triumphant after their first post-pandemic, in-person competition at Temple University’s Hooter Invitational Tournament. The team ranked second overall at last weekend’s tournament, with two members being awarded for their outstanding performances.

Mock trial is a competitive intercollegiate activity in which students take on the roles of attorneys and witnesses in a simulated trial. The case that the team performed over the weekend involved a plane crash, with the central argument of the case surrounding whether the plane operators caused the crash or if the crash was accidental.

“You have to be able to argue that the pilot made mistakes or that there was something spontaneously wrong that caused a freak accident, and you have to be able to effectively argue both sides, which is why it’s so difficult,” co-captain Noah Wilk ‘23 said of the activity’s challenges.

Brenna Girard ’25, another captain on the team, played an expert witness for the defense and an opening attorney for the plaintiff, which earned her an Outstanding Attorney Performance Award. Expert witnesses testify on their field of expertise after proving their knowledge in a particular area.

“I looked up to my captains last year who were able to get [awards] like that and even then it was only a few of them. So that was like a super amazing achievement,” Girard said. “And just, it was so nice to see all the hard work pay off.”

Caroline Hugo ‘25 played a witness for the plaintiff, earning an Outstanding Witness Performance Award for her performance, in addition to playing an expert witness on the defense. According to co-captain Catarina Kruman ‘23, Hugo cried for three hours in a role as a grieving widow whose husband was killed.

“I never break character,” Hugo said. “So the whole trial I’m looking at the judges and crying.”

“The judges were like, ‘Caroline, you were so fabulous. You should get an Oscar for what you just did,’” Kruman said.

For many of the team members, this was their first in-person tournament, and the opportunity appeared to be an important test for them.

“The sophomores have never done this in person before. We have a lot of freshmen on the team this year; it was their first time doing it, too. And we absolutely blew it out of the park, in my opinion,” junior captain Olivia Puzio ‘25 said.

Prior to 2020, Lafayette’s mock trial team was one of the top 45 teams in the country. However, the strain of the pandemic caused their ranking to fall. For their first in-person competition in a few years, the team knew they would have to put in a lot of time and effort.

“It was a lot of work. A lot goes into it for both sides because for the attorneys, you need to know it all,” Hugo said.

After the successful weekend, the team’s confidence is high for the national competition in the spring. Lafayette Mock Trial is once again ranked in the top 45 in the country and is thrilled by its performance at the Hooter Invitational Tournament.

“Everyone really killed it and did a great job, which bodes really well for the rank season in the spring, where we’ll compete on a national level against other really prestigious schools, and hopefully get to advance to the national competition, ” Wilk said.

Wilk believes that the team’s ranking will rise even higher when the national competition happens. 

“I’m really looking forward to the spring and I think we have so much potential,” Puzio added.

Members of the Lafayette community can follow along with the team’s journey on Instagram at @lafmocktrial.

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Kristen Vincent, Assistant Culture Editor

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