Here are the members of the 2016-17 East Central University Mock Trial Team. On the front row are: (from left to right) Carly Heitland, Kate Draper and Skyler Riddle. On the back row are: (left to right) Ginger Johnson, Ryleigh Cooper, Faith Lasiter, Wil Crawford, Kenny Chambless and Gavin Burl. Not pictured is Kristy Miller.

For the first time a mock trial team from East Central University competed in the College Mock Trials Great Plains Regional Competition, Feb. 10-12, at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas.

The event was conducted by the American Mock Trial Association.

Ada attorney Preston Draper, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, Legal Studies and Sociology, served as the coach for the 10-member ECU team.

“Because this was our first time competing in a regional tournament, the ECU team had to deal with inexperience, unanticipated challenges and veteran opponents,” said Draper. “I was very proud of the students’ tenacity under pressure and their willingness to face such challenges head-on.”

Among those who participated for ECU were: Faith Lasiter, a political science major from Eufaula; Kristy Miller, a legal studies major from Checotah; Wil Crawford, a legal studies and political science major from Ada; Skyler Riddle, a political science major from Lindsay; Gavin Burl, a political science major from Rowlett, Texas and Ryleigh Cooper, a legal studies major from Ada.

Also participating as team witnesses were: Katherine Draper, a biology major from Ada; Ginger Johnson, a math and criminal justice major from Broken Arrow; Carly Heitland, a political science and English education major from Sulphur and Kenneth Chambless, a biology pre-med major from Sasakwa.

Heitland was recognized as one of the 10 Outstanding Witnesses for the competition.

“It was incredible to have Carly named as one of the top witnesses,” Preston Draper said. “The rest of us had a great experience and learned some great lessons that will hopefully serve us well next year.”

The team competed in a total of four rounds, two each acting as plaintiff and defendant, against teams from Missouri Southern State University, Kansas State University, the University of Tulsa and the University of Oklahoma. There were 20 teams participating from Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois and Missouri.

During each round, three of the team’s attorneys shared duties to present an opening statement, conduct direct examinations of three of the team’s witnesses, cross-examine three of the opponent’s witnesses and make a closing argument.



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