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Juniata’s mock trial team slays the competition

“Who is Juniata College?” This is a question asked often at mock trial tournaments that Juniata College mock trial team attends. The American Mock Trial Association’s representative said it best at this year’s regionals: “Juniata College is the team that’s shocking the mock trial community.” Juniata College’s team has only been a program for two years and is already nationally ranked and competes across the country.

Juniata’s mock trial team is ranked third in Pennsylvania and second among private colleges in Pennsylvania. They also hold the highest rank of any of their peers, including Bucknell, Elizabethtown, Franklin and Marshall, Susquehanna, Dickinson, and Allegheny College. The team has received numerous individual awards. Vidal Glassman, Tessa Senel, Oliva Drake and Nattie Deversa all received outstanding witness awards and Mallory Duplantis and Meadow Walshaw-Wertz received outstanding attorney awards this season.

Many top nationally ranked mock trial teams found themselves competing with Juniata at tournaments this year. Juniata’s faced schools such as Columbia, New York University, Princeton, Cornell, and Penn State. The program has excelled under the guidance of their coach attorney Dave Andrews, Juniata’s chief college counsel, and assistant coach Haley Walker. Courtney Frye, captain, stated “This team would not be where it is without the dedication from the coaches and the members.”

This year, Juniata’s mock trial team has competed all around the country from Wake Forest, to Penn State, to Carnegie Mellon, to Johns Hopkins, to the east coast of U.C. Berkeley. This underdog team has shocked the nation with their fourth-place win at U.C. Berkeley and four places bid out of regionals at Penn State University. While college students will be spending their spring break on the beaches of Florida and going on adventures with friends, the mock trial team will be spending their spring break competing in Cincinnati, Ohio at the national mock trial tournament.

Though only one team advanced out of regionals, Juniata’s second team was recognized in an honorable mention by placing eighth. Juniata College was the only team other than University of Virginia to be mentioned twice in placement. Five members of the team received individual awards, tying with the University of Virginia for most awards won at the tournament. Advancing to the national round includes Courtney Frye, Meadow-Walshaw Wertz, Mallory Duplantis, Anne Hoover, Fiona Skinner, Mitch Jellen, Tessa Senel, Courtney Eller, Olivia Drake, and Nattie Deversa. The Juniata College mock trial team is creating a legacy. They are going head-to-head with academic power houses and showing them what Juniata College students can do.

-Courtney Frye ’21