SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — If their first appearance in a national tournament is any indication, the students in the Wittenberg Mock Trial Team program have a bright future. So does the program itself, which was formed less than two years ago but still earned honorable mention recognition at the National Mock Trial Tournament at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Ky., March 18-20.
Wittenberg’s team, in its second year in the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA), advanced to the national competition after placing in the top 10 at the 24-team Mideast Regional Tournament hosted by Miami University at the Butler County Courthouse in Hamilton, Ohio, Feb. 4-6. Three teams from the regional advanced to the National Championship Mock Trial Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa, April 7-10, and four others, including Wittenberg, were awarded bids to the National Mock Trial Tournament.
A random draw for the National Mock Trial Tournament placed Wittenberg in a challenging 24-team division with universities from 11 different states, including such nationally recognized institutions as Duke University, the University of Chicago, Harvard University, New York University, Holy Cross College, Kenyon College and Northwestern University.
Arthur Kraatz of Strongsville, Ohio, class of 2007, and team captain, Eric Rey of Grosse Point Woods, Mich., class of 2007, each earned an Outstanding Attorney Award, and Adam Stone of Bucyrus, Ohio, class of 2006, earned an Outstanding Witness Award at the regional competition. Other team members included Gregg Carter of Wellsville, Ohio, class of 2006; Laura Prahl of Le Sueur, Minn., class of 2007; Ashley Craft of Van Wert, Ohio, class of 2007; Matt Reiss of Beavercreek, Ohio, class of 2007; and Amanda Wiesehan of Defiance, Ohio, class of 2007.
“Perhaps what was most exciting was at the beginning of the tournament. Most of the other students, coaches and judges had never heard of Wittenberg University, but at the end of the tournament that wasn’t the case,” said team coach Johnny Pryor, class of 1999 and adjunct instructor of community education. “Several participating coaches, attorneys and judges shared with me that they were very impressed with our students.”
Pryor earned his J.D. from Indiana University School of Law, Bloomington, in 2002. He competed on the trial competition team at Indiana for two years, and he was selected as a National Member of the Order of Barristers for his trial advocacy performance. Pryor is an assistant Clark County prosecutor and also serves on the Wittenberg Career Center Advisory Council and the university’s alumni board.
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