UC San Diego’s Mock Trial team competed at the National Championship Tournament in Minnesota last week, taking 17th place overall. This is the first time the team has qualified for the competition in five years.
According to John Muir College senior Vivian Pham, in order for a university mock trial team to qualify for nationals, it must first pass two tournaments through the American Mock Trial Association.
“We passed these the weekend of the 10th and the 11th, when we found out that we were going to go in March to nationals,” Pham said.
At the nationals competition, Pham explained to the UCSD Guardian that the team did not receive any awards, however, Justin Koo, a junior in Thurgood Marshall College studying political science, received the All-American Attorney award.
“There [are] 10 provisions or honorable mentions, we didn’t get any team awards. We were going into the competition, overall 17th out of 48,” Pham told the Guardian.
The UCSD Mock Trial team has been to nationals three times, the last time the team qualified was in 2013 where it placed fourth at the nationals competition.
Pham noted that UCSD fields three teams, but only the “A” team, which is comparable to the varsity team in sports, advanced to nationals. The tournament lasted three days, beginning on April 20.
Coached by two attorneys and one law student, the team members’ goals for the 2017-2018 season were to reach the national competition and to improve their skills, Pham stated.
Pham added that even teams that regularly advance to nationals did not reach the tournament this year.
“It is definitely a really gruelling competition,” Pham said. “Qualifying competitions are very competitive, and [there are] teams that go to nationals every year [which did not return.] There were teams from all over the west coast; UCLA, UC Berkeley, and Stanford. Miami University won the nationals competition this year.”
While she herself is graduating, Pham mentioned that the team is aiming to place 10th at nationals next year.
According to Pham, members of the team commit to several practices week when they join.
“We practice three days a week, two hours each practice, six hours total. Since the beginning of the quarter, [we’ve had] Saturday scrimmages which last two hours for [each run-through],” Pham said.
Those interested in joining the team can visit the UCSD Mock Trial Facebook page or learn more at tabling and flyering events throughout the year. Recruitment is in Fall Quarter.