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Cal Poly Mock Trial Team Earns Bid to Compete at National Championship

The Cal Poly Mock Trial Team earned a bid to compete at the American Mock Trial Association National Championship Tournament in Los Angeles on April 21-23. This is the first-time Cal Poly has earned a spot in the prestigious national tournament.

Mock Trial
Cal Poly Mock Trial A Team members from left to right:
Garrett Rutherford, Jesse Quiroz, Rod Rahimi, Deeksha Kohli,
Zackery Michaelson and Chloe Loomer.
Photo by Mock Trial Coach Justin Cooley.




Cal Poly’s A Team finished in the top six teams in their Opening Round Championship Series in Fresno on March 25-26. Team members are political science students Deeksha Kohli, Zackery Michaelson and Jesse Quiroz; business student Chloe Loomer; mathematics student Rod Rahimi; and civil engineering student Garrett Rutherford.

“I could not be prouder of our team and their awesome work,” said Elizabeth Lowham, chair of the Cal Poly Political Science Department.

Every year, AMTA publishes a fictitious legal case, and teams from across the country argue the case in front of real judges. Universities field teams that compete during rounds that last about three hours, during which one college represents the prosecution and the other represents the defense.

"We put in hours of practice every day, four days of the week for almost three months in preparation for those trials and I personally am overjoyed that we were so successful," said Michaelson.

During the 2016-2017 season, more than 600 teams competed nationwide in AMTA competitions. Cal Poly's A Team is now one of only 48 teams in the nation that will compete at NCT — the final round of the AMTA's annual national tournament structure. 

The Cal Poly Mock Trial program started in 2006. Lowham says Mock Trial is an activity that the Political Science Department aims to grow and touch all students across all disciplines on Cal Poly's campus. 

"Mock Trial has become this amazing space for co-curricular excellence and opportunity that helps build relationships across colleagues," Lowham said. "I'd love to think that we can continue to play a role in that space."

Under the direction of Justin Cooley, a lecturer in the Political Science Department, 32 students from across the university participated in Mock Trial during the 2016-17 season. The teams competed in five invitational tournaments and two scrimmages, including their first invitational outside of the state of California. Three teams competed in two regional tournaments; one at the Pomona/Claremont McKenna Colleges and one at Arizona State. At the Pomona/Claremont McKenna Regional Competition, Michaelson won a best regional attorney award.

"I think Mock Trial represents one of the best examples of Learn By Doing that the Political Science department has to offer," said Michaelson. "When we are successful in this activity we are displaying the knowledge and skills provided to us by this amazing department." 

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