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Mock Trial Team Advances

News Story

Pace University’s Mock Trial Team competed at the annual American Mock Trial Association Regional Tournament hosted this year by Fordham University at Lincoln Center and are advancing to the Opening Round Championship Series in March.

On February 11–12, Pace University’s Mock Trial team competed at the annual American Mock Trial Association Regional Tournament hosted this year by Fordham University at Lincoln Center, and will be advancing to the Opening Round Championship Series for the first time ever.

The competition hosted 28 teams from schools such as NYU, Brown, Tufts, St. John’s, and many more. This two-day competition sported four trials with a possibility of winning eight rounds—two per trial. Pace University exited the tournament with a record of 5-3, and for the first time ever earned an Honorable Mention, which provided them with a bid to the Opening Round Championship Series in mid-March.

Pace’s Team A students included Jocleyn Bravo, Sean Dales, Defne Guvenc, Chelsea Hohnhorst, Daniella Kolmykova, Jake Oriente, Marcela Pertusi, Angelica Roman, Bartek Szymanski, and Jethro Widjaja. Team B consisted of students Daniel Acevedo, Scarlett Bekus, Jackie Cirello, Rosarys Esquilin, Lorian Gish, Rachel Melamudov, Alex Muino, Holly Rae Phillips, and Robert Zumaya.

The teams were led by Faculty Adviser and Professor James Castagna and Coach Conrad Cantor ’12, ’15.

To prepare for the regional tournament, the Mock Trial Team would meet a minimum of three times per week to study case materials and come up with different case theories with the help of Castagna and Cantor, says Mock Trial Team member Jake Oriente.

Additionally, the team participated in two competitions in recent months—one hosted by the University of Pennsylvania in November 2016 and one hosted by Quinnipiac University in January 2017. Thanks to support by SDACA, the team was able to get funding to go to both competitions, which they have never done before.

Should they place in the top six teams at the Championship Series round, Pace University will move on to the final National Championship Tournament hosted by the University of California, Los Angeles.

“It means the world that we were able to advance,” says Oriente. “It goes to show that our hard work has finally paid off. We have put countless hours into the case this year, and it's great to say that we have something to show for it. Since it has never been done in Pace Mock Trial history before, it really means we went the extra mile this year.”

Additionally at the regional tournament, two students, Bartek Szymanski and Holly Rae Phillips—who were portraying witnesses in the trials—won All-Regional Witness awards, and all witnesses and attorneys ranked at least once during one of the rounds at the competition.

“We would like to extend our thanks to SDACA, and especially our adviser Whitney Brown, for allowing our team to go to additional competitions before our regional, which really gave us the extra push over the top,” Oriente says. “A huge thanks to Professor James Castagna and Coach Conrad Cantor for the countless hours they have dedicated to the team as well.”

The Mock Trial Team is actively recruiting for the 20172018 Mock Trial season. If you are interested in joining or have any questions, please feel free to reach out to them at lawsociety@pace.edu.

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