Home Official News Releases Drake Mock Trial team advances to regional championship

Drake Mock Trial team advances to regional championship

News Photo
Front row from left: Dakota Johansen, Sarah Francis, Daniel VanSant. Back row from left, Nicholas Janning, Greg Boal, Chris Bartak.

CONTACT: Tory Olson, 515-271-1834, tory.olson@drake.edu; Sara Francis, 712-790-0095, sarah.francis@drake.edu

Students in Drake University’s Undergraduate Mock Trial program
recently placed third at the regional competition held in Topeka, Kan.,
and earned three individual awards.

Team 1102 advanced to the Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS)
and will go on to compete at St. Louis University on March 12-14. ORCS
is the final qualifying tournament for the National Championship in

“Regionals is the first tournament of the year where we felt real
pressure to succeed,” said Daniel VanSant, a junior international
relations major. “I’m really proud and excited that our team is able to
take the competition to the next level. Some of the best teams in the
nation will be at ORCS, and it will be a great experience for

In addition to team 1102 finishing in the top eight, Drake team 1103 secured three individual awards:

  • Amanda Thorson, a sophomore English major, received an All
    Regional Witness award for her portrayal of a movie star in the
    fictional state of Midlands  
  • Evan Clark, a junior management major, received an All Regional Witness award for his portrayal of a forensic entomologist
  • John Magruder, a junior economics major, received an All Regional Attorney award


News Photo
From left: Evan Clark, John Magruder and Amanda Thorson.

“It is great to finally get recognized for a character that I have been
perfecting throughout the invitational season,” Thorson said.
“Receiving a witness award is a good way to end the season.”

Before sending two teams to the regional competition in Topeka, Drake
also sent a team to the regional competition in Davenport, Iowa, where
Kyair Butts, a junior psychology and journalism major, received an All
Regional Attorney award.

“Mock Trial is a growing program on Drake’s campus,” said Chris Bartak,
a junior actuarial science and economic major. “We attracted a lot of
new members so we had three competing teams this year.”

According to American Mock Trial Association rules, a competing school
can only send two teams to a regional, so Drake competed in two
different regionals this year.  

Members of team 1390 competing at the Davenport regional are: Kyair
Butts; Megan Verhalen, a junior law, politics and society and history
major; Brittany Elkins, a first-year law, politics and society major;
Nick Dorando, a sophomore law, politics and society major; Kyle Custer,
a first-year English major; Zach Hamilton, a junior English major; and
Nathan Arnold, a first-year political science major.  

Competing in the Topeka regional were teams 1102 and 1103. Members of
team 1102 are: Chris Bartak; Daniel VanSant; Nicholas Janning, a senior
English and political science major; Sarah Francis, a sophomore
pre-pharmacy major; Greg Boal, a sophomore journalism major; and Dakota
Johansen, a first-year political science and psychology major.

Members of team 1103 are: Evan Clark; Amanda Thorson; John Magruder;
Valerie Whiting, a junior marketing major; Anna DeVries, a sophomore
political science major; and Emily Lofgren, a first-year political
science and rhetoric major.