Drake University’s Mock Trial team will spend the first weekend of their spring break in St. Paul, Minnesota at the Opening Round Championship series. Two of Drake’s teams will advance after they won regional competitions in Joliet, Illinois and Topeka, Kansas.
The Opening Round Championship series comes right before the national competition.
Right now, the team is working nine hours a week before the championship in order to set themselves up to succeed.
“You don’t want to practice too much, because if you do you’re going to sound scripted and like a robot,” said Anoushe Seiff, a sophomore psychology and law, politics and society (LPS) double major. “But if you don’t practice enough you’re not going to have that confidence you need.”
Beth McNab, a junior LPS major who is the captain of the team, believes they show promise, but have also run into some challenges.
“I think we’re able to adapt quickly,” McNab said. “When we get a new case, we’re able to figure out what to do with it quickly. But that can make things hard later on in the season, when we’re stuck with the same case and want more information to look at instead of the stuff we’ve already worked with.”
McNab earned an individual award as an attorney in both her prosecution and defense performances at the Kansas regional competition. Senior Kevin Smaller also earned an individual award as an outstanding witness
But Richard Nesselroad, a sophomore LPS major, thinks the team has a leg up on the others.
“One of the big keys is to have the ability to be comfortable with public speaking,” Nesselroad said. “Some teams get nervous, but none of our team members seem to, which is great.”
The teams have competed at universities ranging from University of Minnesota to University of Iowa to compete. There are three rounds before a team gets to the national championship, including the invitational from other colleges, regionals and the Open Round Championships.
Nesselroad said that he enjoys getting to meet different people.
The team has met students from South Dakota State University, among other colleges from across the country.
McNab, on the other hand, says most enjoy the challenge.
“My favorite part is that we have to think critically about law,” McNab said. “We don’t usually think about law in that way, so it’s really cool to get the chance to do so.”
Nesselroad encouraged anyone who is interested in law, public speaking or acting to join Mock Trial.