FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 25, 2010
EDITORIAL CONTACT: Lisa L. Rollins, 615-898-2919, or email@example.com
MTSU MOCK TRIAL TAKES FIRST PLACE AT PRESTIGIOUS CONTEST
Weekend Victory Marks MTSU Mock Trial’s Inaugural Win at Atlanta-based Contest
(MURFREESBORO)—An MTSU Mock Trial team won the 5th Annual Ramblin’ Wreck Mock Trial Tournament at Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Jan. 24 following eight ballots in four rounds and two days of competition against some of the best teams in the nation.
Led by seniors Austin Purvis, a political science major from Memphis, and Daniel Vaughan, a senior political science major from Mt. Juliet, the team compiled a 6-to-2 record that included wins against teams that placed second, third and fifth in the tournament. Additionally, Purvis was named as one of the tournament’s top attorneys.
Dr. John Vile, one of the team’s coaches and dean of the University Honors College, reported that MTSU split its first round against Miami University of Ohio, which placed third in the tournament, before winning both ballots against Georgia State University, which went 3-4-1 in the tournament, and the University of South Carolina, which placed fifth in the tournament. The MTSU team split with Duke University’s A team, which went on to place second. Referring to the weekend competition, “It is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the nation, and this is the first time we have won; indeed, I believe it's the first time we've placed there at all,” Vile explained. “There are four rounds, each with ballots from two judges. Several teams were 6-2—the highest record in the tournament—but our team came in first because we had met the best competition during the course of the power-paired tournament,” he noted. This year’s case was a hypothetical criminal case involving allegations that movie producer Jackie Owens, a member of Trifecta Entertainment in Midlands, was responsible for murdering a partner, Jacob Bennett. Each team at the tournament argued two rounds on behalf of the prosecution and two on behalf of the defense, with judging by two attorneys in each trial.
In addition to MTSU’s Purvis and Vaughan, David Haggard a junior English major from Greenbrier, Tenn., played an attorney for MTSU. Meanwhile, Nathan Brown, a Murfreesboro freshman double majoring in physics and advertising; Rachel Harmon, a junior from Spencer, Tenn., who is majoring in international relations; and Jacob Strait, a senior political science major from Nashville all played witness roles. Samantha Farish, a freshman political science major from Goodlettesville, and Heather Haggard, a criminal justice major from Greenbrier, served as timekeepers. Beyond the aforementioned schools, other teams at the tournament hailed from Vanderbilt University, Rhodes College, Emory, Bellarmine University, Furman University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Southern Methodist University, the College of Charleston, Kennesaw State University, the University of Central Florida, the University of Georgia, the University of Florida, Spelman College and the University of Minnesota at Morris.
“The aim of this particular tournament is to get the top-10 (mock trial) teams in the country, and frankly, to come out on top in this is a huge victory for our students,” said Vile, whose co-coach is Murfreesboro attorney Brandi Snow, an MTSU mock trial alumna. “This competition will do much to prepare the team for regional competition in February and national competition in March and April.”
ATTENTION, MEDIA: To request an interview with Dr. Vile or team members, please e-mail your request to Lisa L. Rollins in the Office of News and Public Affairs at MTSU at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With three Nobel Prize winners among its alumni and former faculty, Middle Tennessee State University confers master’s degrees in 10 areas, the Specialist in Education degree, the Doctor of Arts degree and the Doctor of Philosophy degree. MTSU is ranked among the top 100 public universities in the nation in the Forbes “America’s Best Colleges” 2009 survey.