Samford University’s mock trial teams attended the American Mock Trial Association Regional competition at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, Feb. 26–28.
Callie Nickles, a nutrition and dietetics major from Anderson, South Carolina, earned the Outstanding Witness honor for her performance. Political science department professor and team faculty adviser Marissa Grayson explained why it was so impressive that Nickles, a recent transfer student, earned that prestigious award. “Having only joined the team in January after transferring from Clemson University, Callie had to learn the case, witness role and how to work with her new teammates in just a few weeks,” Grayson said. “Her past experience in theatre and high school mock trial helped her successfully prepare her role as a witness. Her hard work certainly paid off.”
Grayson said team preparations for the regional competition have been a yearlong endeavor, with members developing case theories, witness characters and arguments, and practicing public speaking and critical thinking. That helped Samford’s two mock trial teams make strong overall showings at the competition.
The Samford team of Madison Cumby, Lexi Gilbert and Elle Olszewski of Brentwood, Tennessee; Nick Kromann of Huntsville, Alabama; Mitch Laing of Peachtree City, Georgia; Miranda Mason of Trussville, Alabama; and Kaitlin Mullen of Norcross, Georgia, beat teams from DePaul University, the University of Chicago and the the University of Cincinnati.
The Samford team of Kevin Aparicio of Enterprise, Alabama, Levi Blalock of Odenville, Alabama, Haillie Bowles of New Iberia, Louisiana, Marisa Connally of Ashville, Alabama, Natalie Marshal of McKinney, Texas, Callie Nickles of Anderson, South Carolina, and Sydney Schwitzerlett of Monroe, North Carolina, beat teams from the University of North Alabama and the University of Kentucky.
“This tournament was incredibly competitive, but our team definitely rose to the challenge,” said psychology major Lexi Gilbert. “We came together as a team, and came out as better competitors and closer friends.”