Mock trial squad wins Mid-South tournament

Mock trial squad wins Mid-South tournament

An MTSU team was crowned champion of the Mid-South Mock Trial Invitational Tournament held at Middle Tennessee State University Nov. 11-12.

The annual tournament, which has been held at MTSU for 20 years, is among the largest and most prestigious in the nation.

This year’s competition, which was held in the Business and Aerospace Building, featured 48 teams from 24 colleges and universities in 11 states. Because of its size, the tournament was divided into two 24-team divisions.

A team headed by MTSU senior Rachel Harmon of Atlanta, Ga., captured first place in one division with an 8-0 record, followed by teams from the University of Georgia, the University of Central Florida and Rhodes College.

In the second division, a team from the University of Central Florida earned first place with an 8-0 record. Another team from UCF, along with teams from Vanderbilt University, the University of Georgia and Southern Methodist University, took second, third, fourth and fifth place, respectively, in this division.

Because the teams MTSU faced had stronger win/loss records, the MTSU team also received the tournament’s “Traveling Gavel” award. Samantha Farrish, a member of another MTSU team, also received a top-10 attorney award.

The winning MTSU team faced Kennesaw State University in the first round, Georgia in the second round, the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the third round and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in the fourth round.

Dr. John R. Vile, dean of the University Honors College and adviser for the teams, said MTSU’s 8-0 record was especially impressive because the team handed UT- Knoxville and UAB their only losses.

In addition to Harmon, the MTSU winning team included Zac Barker and Constance Grieves, who also played attorney roles, and Chris Hardman, James Johnson, Curtis Strode and Chanekka Pullens, who played the roles of witnesses.

Vile and local attorneys Brandi Snow and Shiva Bozarth coach the MTSU teams. MTSU mock trial alumni and members of the local bar help with judging.

For the first time in its 20-year history, the tournament offered continuing legal-education credit for interested Tennessee attorneys, Vile said.

Teams will compete in invitational tournaments in December and January before going to regional and national competitions from February through April.

— Randy Weiler (