595af7a5-0785-4327-8860-57cb68b1d08f_400_300The Loras College Mock Trial A-Team has earned a bid to the American Mock Trial Association’s Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS) tournament, taking place March 20-22, 2015 in Geneva, Illinois. The Duhawks advanced after placing 6th out of 23 teams at University of Notre Dame, Indiana Regional Tournament.
The Loras College team defeated strong contenders to win the bid, including Northwestern University, University of Iowa, Indiana University, University of Kentucky, Western Michigan University, Ball State University, Ohio State University, Eastern Michigan University and Valparaiso University. Leading the team were captains
Blake Gibney (’15) (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) and Julian Valdes (’15) (Rockford, Illinois) in addition to Emily Decker (’17) (Dubuque, Iowa), Dallas Knapp (’17) (Bloomington, Illinois), Amanda Sharkey (’16) (Mokena, Illinois), Christian Stillings (’16) (Neenah, Wisconsin), Lucas Tully (’17) (Dubuque, Iowa) and Elaine Wasylko (’16) Chicago, Illinois).“I’m very proud of the team and the performance that we had at our regional tournament at Notre Dame,” said Gibney. “We are putting in a lot of hours of hard work and we will need to focus the next three weeks before our next tournament, but I feel very confident in the team’s ability. I can tell that everyone is really driven and determined to do well.”Loras College’s B-team captain Matt Zagaros (’18) (Peosta, Iowa) also received an individual award for his portrayal of a witness. Zagaros was joined by team members Sarah Brimeyer (’18) (Belvidere, Illinois), Emily Carlson (’18) (Faribault, Minnesota), Michelle Hinojosa (’18) (Waukegan, Illinois), Halea Griffin (’17) (Ann Arbor, Michigan), Katie O’Brien (’18) (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Luis Sanchez (’15) (Glendale, Arizona), Sarah Statz (’16) (De Forest, Wisconsin) and Kristopher Wolff (’18) (Dubuque, Iowa) at the tournament.In addition to overall and individual awards, Loras College earned the Spirit of American Mock Trial Association Award. The prestigious award is presented to the team that best exemplifies the ideals of honesty, civility and fair play throughout the tournament.

“We are fortunate at Loras to have talented and dedicated students,” said Mock Trial Head Coach, Deone Merkel. “The team we are sending to ORCS is practicing 10 hours per week in addition to individual and pair practices on their own time. Additionally, the students who did not advance to ORCS have been practicing along with the A-Team to help them prepare, which I think shows their integrity and dedication to the program.”

Following the American Mock Trial Association’s ORCS tournaments, only 48 teams will advance to the 31st Annual National Championship Tournament, April 17-19, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio.