USD Mock Trial Team to compete at AMTA nationals Friday

VERMILLION, S.D. -- A team of students from The University of South Dakota will compete at the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) national championship this week in Kansas City, Mo.

Seven undergraduate students from The U are spending their spring break prepping for the competition, which begins Friday, March 13. The team of Sarah Burger, Pierre, S.D., Andy Fick, Quimby, Iowa, Chelsie Goetz, Hartington, Neb., Lee Lohff, Yankton, S.D., Brett Mayer, Timber Lake, S.D., Jessica Weisz, Hot Springs, S.D., and David Whitesock, Thompson, N.D., did not qualify outright at the regional tournament in Topeka, Kan., but on March 1, the team received a surprise bid to the Opening Round Championship of the national tournament.

"At the start of the year we listed going to nationals as one of our goals. Everyone's hard work resulted in the achievement of that goal, and now we have an incredible opportunity to do so much more," said Whitesock, mock trial team captain.

The USD Mock Trial Team participated in four tournaments since November consistently bringing home individual awards for outstanding witnesses and outstanding attorneys, including third place at Creighton’s Bluejay Invitational.

Under the direction of Sandy McKeown, J.D., assistant professor of political science, USD Mock Trial fielded two teams during the year. Participants included: Jessica Classen, Omaha, Neb., Emily Van Gerpen, Yankton, S.D., Karl Giuseffi, Spearfish, S.D., Michelle Hiatt, Spencer, Neb., Cody Muecke, Hinton, Iowa, Brian Ney, Columbus, Ohio, Paul Rann, Lennox, S.D., and Ashley Sieh, Leola, S.D.  Heather Karp, a second-year law student at the USD School of Law, is completing her inaugural year with the team as assistant coach.