Baylor Mock Trial team advances to nationals for first time since 2017

Members of the Baylor Mock Trial team prepare for nationals after having not attended since 2015. Photo courtesy of Raychel Polk

By Raylee Foster | Staff Writer

Baylor’s Mock Trial team has advanced to the national championship — an achievement the group has not seen since 2017. Baylor’s team is currently one of 48 college teams that qualified for the championship. Nationals will take place from April 14-16 in Memphis, Tenn.

The American Mock Trial Association was developed to simulate realistic trial experiences for college students. With 400 schools participating and over 700 teams, only 7% advanced to nationals.

Conway, Ark., junior and team captain Chloe Solis said the new members, as well as the leadership team, played a crucial role in their ability to advance this season.

“I do think there was an increase in talent on the team, but also everyone on [the] leadership [team] wanted to go,” Solis said. “We started this season saying we’re going to nationals and, now we’re going to nationals.”

In order to advance to nationals, the team had to compete in two competitions. They competed in regionals and received a bid to advance to the open round ceremonies, where the team placed first.

McKinney senior and team captain Krishna Kandury said ORCs was a competitive scene, and had it been easy, the win would not have carried the same weight.

“It was not an easy ORC; we had to beat another team that placed No. 3 at nationals last year, so it wasn’t an easy path,” Kandury said. “It was very difficult to get through [and] that’s what makes the win worth it.”

Dallas senior and president of the team Raychel Polk said the team stands out because they are completely student run. Many programs are aided by coaches or attorneys, but the Baylor team works alone.

“That is something notable about our program, that we don’t have a coach when most programs do have coaches or attorneys to help them out,” Polk said.

The team has worked with the same case for all the academic yea, but this will change at the national competition. With the trial closely approaching, the team awaits the disclosure of the case details.

Solis, Polk and Kandury said once the team is informed of the case, they will have three and a half weeks to place roles, study materials and prepare to compete.

The team accepts 30 members each year, including the eight members holding executive and leadership positions. Polk said she hopes this nationals advancement will grow their pool of applicants.