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UW–Madison mock trial team places 11th at nationals

April 30, 2023 By Sophia Ross

The UW–Madison mock trial team in Memphis. Submitted photo

On April 12, the UW–Madison Mock Trial Team competed in Memphis, Tenn., for the American Mock Trial Association national collegiate championship, placing 11th in its division. It was the second year in a row that the university’s team had qualified for the national round.

The team has made remarkable strides, Co-captain Matthew Moorhead said.

“Just two years ago UW was a team that was unranked and unrecognized on the national circuit,” Moorhead said. “Now we are ranked in the top 20 in the nation and have set a foundation for continued success in the coming years.”

Mock trial teams argue a simulated court case, preparing both a defense case and a prosecution/plaintiff case, team member Alexandra Webb said. “They formulate arguments and develop questions that [the team] will ask ‘witnesses’ to the crime to progress [their] theory,” Webb said.  

The team placed second at the regional round and first at the opening round series to become one of the 48 teams invited to nationals.

“From late January when we started preparing for Regionals to the end of Nationals in mid-April, we would spend nearly every night preparing our case,” Moorhead said.

“Those practices consisted of traveling on weekends to scrimmage our friends at Northwestern and Chicago, running to the store to buy case materials, and sitting in a room all day writing and running our content,” said co-captain Margaret Mueller. 

Two team members were named All-American competitors at the April 12 competition. 

Jackson Kunde was awarded his second All-American Attorney title, the first in UW–Madison’s history, and Webb received an All-American Witness title. 

Moorhead credits the team’s accomplishments in this year to a variety of factors, the main one being the drive and resilience of his teammates.

“They have a work ethic like no other group I’ve seen, and that coupled with assistance from our coaches Kate Hayner-Slattery, Brendan Hayner-Slattery, and Arria Alton made this year everything I could’ve wished for and more,” he said.

It’s also a young team, mostly made up of underclassmen, and with three members who’d never participated in mock trial before this year.

“In the future, I know our goal will be to make it to the final round at nationals and hopefully take home the seven-foot-tall trophy for the University of Wisconsin–Madison,” she stated. “Each year we get closer to this goal, and I am hoping as a senior next year to make it to a top ten ranking at nationals and possibly make it into the final round!” 


Tags: student life