VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota School of Law was one of just two law schools to place two teams in the top 10 at the regional National Trial Competition at Portland, Ore., earlier this month.
USD law students Kraig Kronaizl of Scotland, S.D., and David Geyer of DeSmet, S.D., advanced with four consecutive victories to the semifinals, but lost a split decision to a team from the host school Lewis & Clark College. USD’s second team of Chris Wentzlaff of Sioux Falls, S.D. and Joe Prieksat of Pierre, S.D. finished ninth – just missing the quarterfinals.
Coached by local attorney Sid Strange and Judge Robert Ulrich, a recently retired USD law professor, the USD teams’ collective record was 5-1-2 during the competition. In fact, USD and Lewis & Clark College were the only schools to place two teams in the top 10. Law schools from Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming were represented at the contest, which ended Feb. 12.
Established in 1975, the National Trial Competition is one of the oldest and most prestigious mock trial competitions in the United States. The National Trial Competition is co-sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) and was established to encourage and strengthen students’ advocacy skills through quality competition and valuable interaction with members of the bench and bar, according to the TYLA Web site. The program is designed to expose law students to the nature of trial practice and to serve as a supplement to their education.