Juniata Mock Trial Team to debut

HUNTINGDON – For the first time in Juniata College history it is sponsoring a mock trial team for intercollegiate competition, governed by the American Mock Trial Association.

The team is coached by attorney and Juniata alumnus David P. Andrews of Altoona and senior Haley Walker, of Altoona serves as the teamás captain.

Their first competitive outing is Guardian Invitational tournament and takes place Saturday and Sunday at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. Future competitions are the St. Bonaventure Friar Faceoff Invitational, Nov. 3 and 4, in Olean, New York; the Carnegie Mellon Tournament in Pittsburgh, Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and 2 and the Johns Hopkins University Tournament in Baltimore, Maryland, on Jan. 26 and 27.

“I’ve been very impressed already,” stated Andrews, in a release from the college.“The students have been very prepared and there’s an obvious desire to be successful”

Andrews has coached mock trial teams at both the high school and collegiate level, most recently coaching a team for Mount Aloysius College. Andrews also co-coached the Altoona Area High School mock trial team for 10 years, leading the team to a state championship in 2014 and a top-20 finish at the national competition.

“Mock Trial is very popular at the high school level throughout the country,” says Andrews. “It is an advantage for Juniata to have an established mock trial program, with two teams and academic classes each semester in mock trial.”

In mock trial, student teams participate in trials that follow legal procedures to simulate real litigation. Acting as lawyers, each team has the opportunity to present both the prosecution and the defense cases to real judges, and volunteer attorneys score their presentations. Students also act as the witnesses, clerks and bailiffs in the trials.

“You really have to be able to think on your feet,” Walker stated. “I think it will be a valuable experience for everyone involved.”

Walker isn’t alone.

“I joined Juniata’s mock trial team because it allowed me to explore my competitive nature in an academic environment,” says Meadow Walshaw-Wertz, a junior studying computer science and sociology from Sunbury, Pennsylvania.

“I am a part of the women’s soccer team and the women’s track and field team here at Juniata, and while I love competing athletically, it’s nice to have academic competition as well. Juniata’s mock trial program has given me the chance to prepare for law school as well as meet new people with similar interests to me,” she said.