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Eastern Kentucky University’s mock trial team continued its successful season by finishing undefeated at the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) Regional Tournament Feb. 18-19 in St. Louis, Missouri.

EKU placed second in the tournament with a 7-0-1 record, taking both ballots against teams from Culver Stockton College, Washington University in St. Louis, and Hendrix College, and earning a win and a tie against the University of Iowa.

A total of 192 teams nationwide (roughly the top third of teams) qualify for AMTA's first level of nationals, the Opening Round Championships (ORC). EKU will now move on to the AMTA ORC in Memphis, Tennessee, hosted by Rhodes College on March 17-19. The top six of 24 teams in the Memphis ORC will advance to AMTA's National Championship Tournament in Los Angeles, California, in mid-April.

Three EKU competitors earned recognition for their individual performances in the tournament. Allie Maples, a senior political science major from Mount Sterling, Kentucky, won an Outstanding Attorney Award as a top-ranked attorney in the tournament, earning a double award on both the plaintiff and defense sides of the case. Brianna Palmer, a freshman criminal justice major from Richmond, Kentucky also won an Outstanding Attorney Award. Ryan Wiggins, a sophomore political science and psychology major from Georgetown, Kentucky, garnered an Outstanding Witness Award for his portrayal of a defense witness in the case.

Other members of EKU’s second-place team included Angel Spurlock, a senior chemistry teaching major from Rockcastle, Kentucky; Melissa Mahan, a senior anthropology major from Bloomington, Illinois; Alexa Turner, a junior paralegal and history major from Winchester, Kentucky; Tyler Swafford, a senior globalization major from Franklin, Tennessee; Hayley Abbott, a junior political science major from Corbin, Kentucky; and Laura Jackson, a junior political science major from Artemus, Kentucky. Maples, Turner, Swafford, Spurlock and Jackson are members of EKU Honors.

EKU’s second team also performed admirably at the tournament, finishing with a 4-4 record.  The team fell one ballot short of earning EKU a second bid to nationals, splitting ballots with the University of Iowa in a closely contested final round. Members of EKU’s second team included Alicia Gilbert, Kenny Hopper, Joseph Moore, Brianna Palmer, Kaylyn Perkins, Peyton Ratliff, Reagan Roberts, Ashley Thompson and Juliette Tinebra.

The EKU mock trial program is sponsored by the EKU College of Letters, Arts, & Social Sciences. Faculty and staff assisting with the program include Tom Parker, Brandon Williams, Lynnette Noblitt, Kristeena Johnson and Dean Sara Zeigler.