This past weekend, Penn State Mock Trial held its 5th Annual Happy Valley Invitational against 17 of the United State’s most elite schools.
Schools ranging from Harvard University to University of Michigan traveled to Penn State hoping to win not only a trophy, but also to reestablish their reputation. At the end, Harvard had the most wins, with seven. Penn State had two.
“In terms of this tournament, every year is a fresh slate. Now everyone is trying to figure out who is good again,” said Anthony Panichelli (junior-political science), executive vice president of Penn State Mock Trial.
The invitational officially started Friday night with an Alumni Hayride, Panichelli said, and continued into Saturday and Sunday with four rounds of trials –– two on each day.
In the first round, Penn State’s team lost to Cornell University’s team A. Penn State’s team also lost the second round against Drexel University’s team B. But for the third round, Penn State received two wins against Fordham University’s team B. In the final round, Penn State lost to Yale University’s team B.
Currently, Penn State Mock Trial has 75 active members, 30 of whom are new, Andrew D’Aversa (junior-management and history), president of Penn State Mock Trial, said. The team was composed mainly with new members who have yet to compete and are looking for an educational experience, said D’Aversa.
“Mock trial is extremely competitive in its own closed universe. But the whole point of it is educational,” Panichelli said .
In order to prepare for the event, the 24 different teams that competed in the invitational were given the case about a year ago that the American Mock Trial Association created, Grant Keener, senior director of admission at Dickinson School of Lawsaid.
This year’s case is called Lee Allen v. Neptune Underwater Expeditions and deals with a wrongful death while scuba diving and is around 150 pages long, said Panichelli.
The teams were broken up into 12 units of two teams and either competed as a plaintiff or a defendant, said Panichelli.
Originally for the first round the competitors were paired off randomly, but then for the other rounds, the teams are paired based on their scores.
The judges score each team on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the best score, Mandy Stango (senior-English), Happy Valley Invitational tournament director, said.
“This year we got the greatest amount of demand and interest [for registration] which has never happened before,” said Stango.