OMAHA – The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Mock Trial Team claimed its very first invitational win this past weekend.
The team went 8-0 over the two-day Richard Calkins Invitational Tournament, hosted by Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
It’s a significant achievement for such a young program. UNO’s Mock Trial Team is only three years old.
“They were not really expected to be such a force, just because mock trial is still new to our university. So this really was a wonderful surprise for the team,” said Dr. Jody Neathery-Castro, chair of the Political Science Department, which created the class and practicum.
Not only did the UNO students beat out 27 other teams for the top spot, two members also won individual awards. Judges chose team co-captain Mallory Sleight as the tournament’s Outstanding Attorney and Joe Loukota as Outstanding Witness.
This season, each team argues a case connected to alleged casino bribery. Students act out each role, reacting to new evidence and arguments with each tournament. A panel made up of legal professionals scores each trial.
The UNO Mock Trial Team practices three days a week, often late into the evening. Students hope the hard work continues to pay off.
“We’re all workaholics, but only because we love it,” Sleight said.
This is attorney Shannon O'Connor's first year as the UNO Mock Trial Team coach. His team will compete in four more invitationals before Regionals in February. Depending on their performance then, they could qualify for an open round championship in March.
The Mock Trial Team is open to all UNO students. Interested students learn courtroom procedure by enrolling in a semester in the Mock Trial class, and can then enroll subsequently or simultaneously in the Mock Trial Practicum, if they wish to join the team.
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Sam Petto, UNO Media Relations Coordinator
Charley Reed, UNO Associate Director of Media Relations
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.