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All four Lafayette mock trial teams garnered an accolade en route to three Best Witness awards, one Best Attorney award, and the Spirit of American Mock Trial Association award at the regional mock trial tournament hosted by Princeton University Feb. 18-19.

Lafayette has earned an invitation to send a team to the national tournament for mock trial at Stetson Law School in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Representing three of the teams, Jillian Gaeta ’07 (Middletown, N.J.) and Marquis Scholar Malorie Ferrick ’07 (McKean, Pa.), both international affairs majors, along with Dyan Argento ’05 (Pittsburgh, Pa.), a double major in German and history, each earned a Best Witness award for their efforts.

“I was very surprised to receive an individual award because the competition at the tournament was so strong, but it was a nice surprise,” says Gaeta. “Mock trial is a club that requires a lot of work and effort and I was grateful that those efforts paid off.”

The fictitious case for 2004-05 is Kissner vs. Polk Hospital, in which the promising young golf career of Tony Kissner has been tragically cut short. What seemed to be a career with nothing but potential is now over because of the actions of a man suffering from a severe mental illness. The competitors work out who is to blame for this tragedy and who will be found accountable for what happened to Kissner.

One of Argento’s teammates, Natalie Kamphaus ’05 (Athens, Ga.), a double major in history and religious studies, won a Best Attorney award. Both students won the same awards at the mock trial invitational tournament hosted by Lafayette in December.

“It was extremely rewarding for both Natalie and I to be recognized for our work as best attorney and witness at the tournament,” says Argento. “While the Lafayette tournament in December was an invitational, this tournament was a regional competition, which means that not only have the teams had more time to practice, but the caliber of teams is much higher. It was flattering to earn such high accolades among such wonderful competition.”

Lafayette’s fourth team won the Spirit of American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) award. Decided by all teams at the tournament, the honor is presented to the group that best exemplifies the ideals of “civility, fair play, and justice.” The team includes Sarah Bruno ’08 (Wilkes Barre, Pa.), Amy Kassen ’08 (Westport, Conn.), Leah Leinbach ’08 (Reading, Pa.), Lisa Van Batavia ’08 (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.), Richard Beatty ’08 (Milford, N.J.), mathematics-economics major Andrew Fagal ’07 (Skaneateles, N.Y.), and Chris McGuinn ’07 (Pittsburgh, Pa.), a history and government & law major.

Gaeta and Argento found the tournament to be a valuable learning experience.

“I was proud of the four Lafayette teams and how we competed. We competed against some of the top schools in the country and did well,” Gaeta says. “I was especially happy for our team that received the Spirit of AMTA award. The award goes to a team that shows professionalism and treats all of the other teams respectfully. I think that is really important.”

Other members of Argento’s and Kamphaus’ team were Marquis Scholar Joe Narkevic ’06 (Ambridge, Pa.), a mechanical engineering major; Marquis Scholar Ben Wilmoth ’05 (Marysville, Ohio), a double major in international affairs and government & law; Alisandra Carnevale ’06 (Princeton, N.J.), a history major; and Theresa Giamanco ’07 (Oak Ridge, N.J.), a history and government & law major.

Gaeta’s teammates included Lori Weaver ’06 (White Haven, Pa.), a double major in history and government & law; Alysse Henkel ’08 (West Des Moines, Iowa); John Raymond ’05 (Verona, N.J.), a double major in history and international affairs; Brandon Benjamin ’06 (Towanda, Pa.), a double major in economics & business and government and law; and government and lawmajors Charles Landon ’06 (Shrewsburg, N.J.) and John Landon ’05 (Shrewsburg, N.J.).

Ferrick’s teammates were Brian Carlozzi ’08 (Farmington, Conn.); Jennifer Gorchow ’07 (Cherry Hill, N.J.), an economics and business major; Kathryn Kelley ’06 (West Chester, Pa.), a double major in history and English; Alison Flowers ’07 (Dillsburg, Pa.), an international affairs major; and government and law majors David Myers ’07 (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) and Katherine Okon ’07 (Monroe, Conn.).

The teams were coached by Diane Elliot, team adviser and associate director for public service at the Robert B. and Helen S. Meyner Center for the Study of State and Local Government; Carmela Karns, administrative assistant; and Rob Fallone ’04.

Lafayette fielded the eighth-place team and two individual award-winners in a highly competitive 38-team field at the Brown/Roger Williams Mock Trial Invitational tournament hosted by Brown University Nov. 6-7.

Categorized in: Academic News