MTSU mock trial team tops field of 14 in Memphis

MTSU mock trial team tops field of 14 in Memphis

An MTSU mock trial team placed first among 14 teams from five states participating in a scrimmage at Rhodes College in Memphis Dec. 3-4.

A team captained by Zach Barker of Woodbury, Tenn., and Heather Haggard of Greenbrier, Tenn., captured eight of eight ballots in four rounds of competition. They defeated teams from Rhodes College, Millsaps College, Washington University and Mississippi College to post the only undefeated record at the tournament.

In addition to Barker and Haggard, Constance Grieves of Nashville also played the role of an attorney on the team. Team members who played witness parts were Thomas Polombo of Pittsburgh, Pa.; Curtis Campbell of Murfreesboro; Alexa Sengupta of Ashland City, Tenn., and Jessica Seitz of McMinnville, Tenn.

MTSU students won several individual awards. Grieves received the second-place award for “best attorney closing arguments,” and Polombo was recognized as best fact witness. The team also was runner-up for the Southern Hospitality Award, which was voted on by other teams.

Rachael Harmon of Atlanta, who was on a second MTSU team, received the “People’s Choice” Attorney Award. Other tournament participants voted on the award.  Harmon and most of her team members recently won MTSU’s own invitational tournament.

Brooke Borchering of Watertown, Tenn., also a member of the second team, was runner-up for the Best Fact Witness Award.

MTSU teams are coached by Dr. John R. Vile, dean of the University Honors College, and by local attorneys Shiva Bozarth and Brandi Snow.

Vile said this tournament experience “will give MTSU considerable momentum as it goes into the spring semester.” MTSU teams plan to attend two invitational tournaments in January followed by regional and national tournaments in later months.

— Randy Weiler (