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UCF's Mock Trial Team Earns Shot at National Title

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By Zenaida Gonzalez Kotola

One of UCF's mock trial teams is headed to the Championship Tournament in April thanks to its stellar performance at a regional competition this past weekend. A second team has a shot at making the same competition if it performs well at the National Tournament in Illinois from March 16 to 18.

Team 868, which includes Jayson Serrano, Jean Marc Chanoine, Brenna Egan, Natalie Boyajian, Juan Medolla, Joe Etter, Kendell Ali and Candance Stuart, placed second at the American Mock Trial Association's Gulfcoast Regional Tournament last weekend. That was good enough for an invitation to the Championship Tournament, where the national champion will be determined.

Team 869, which includes Rachel Rubinski, Marcus Hyatt, Michael Quintero, Andrew Langenbach, Chris Arter, Tiffany Colbert, Stephen Chavarria and Jessica Kennedy, placed third at the same regional competition. That gave the team an invite to the National Tournament. If the team places in the top six there, it will join Team 868 at the Championship Tournament in April for a shot at the national title.

"I'm very proud of these students," said Margarita Koblasz, the team's advisor and coach. "They performed well."

More than 150 students competed in the regional Gulfcoast Tournament at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. UCF teams took six of the 24 individual awards and two of five given during the competition. Individuals also earned awards for their performance as attorneys and witnesses.

The teams are part of the UCF Mock Trial Team, a student organization on campus. The students prepare a fictitious case and argue it in front of judges. They compete against teams from other universities portraying each of the characters involved in a trial.

The group placed first this year at the inaugural Southeastern Invitational Mock Trial Tournament and at the 10th Annual Yale Invitational, the largest tournament in the country.

The American Mock Trial Association's National Tournament will be held March 16 to 18 at Northwestern University in Illinois. The Championship Tournament will be held April 13 to 15 at Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg.

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