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For the third consecutive year, Eastern Kentucky University’s mock trial team has earned a trip to the American Mock Trial Association’s (AMTA) National Championship Tournament.

EKU finished with a 7-1 record at the AMTA Memphis Opening Round Championship series, good for third place among 24 teams and a trip to Los Angeles, California, to compete for the national title April 21-23. EKU’s NCT-bound team has lost only a single ballot in official AMTA competition this spring after going undefeated at regionals.

With only 48 teams competing in the national event, Eastern ranks among the top 8 percent of teams in the nation. It was one of 192 teams competing in the Opening Round Championship series out of 608 teams that competed at the regional level. This marks EKU’s fifth appearance in the national tournament in the last seven years.

EKU took both ballots its first-round matchup against the University of Houston, then split ballots in the second round against Baylor University. The team then swept its final four ballots, claiming victories against the University of Loyola-Chicago and Saint Louis University. 

Swafford and Maples photoAllie Maples, a senior political science major from Mount Sterling, received yet another Outstanding Attorney Award for her performance at the tournament. Tyler Swafford, a senior globalization and international affairs major from Franklin, Tennessee, earned his first Outstanding Witness Award for his portrayal of the defendant CEO in the case.

Other members of the EKU squad included Hayley Abbott, a junior political science major from Corbin, Kentucky; Laura Jackson, a junior Political Science major from Artemus, Kentucky; Melissa Mahan, a senior anthropology major from Bloomington, Illinois; Brianna Palmer, a freshman criminal justice major from Richmond, Kentucky; Angel Spurlock, a senior chemistry teaching major from Rockcastle, Kentucky; Alexa Turner, a junior paralegal and history major from Winchester, Kentucky; and Ryan Wiggins, a sophomore political science and psychology major from Georgetown, Kentucky. Maples, Swafford, Jackson, Spurlock and Turner are all members of EKU Honors.

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

Inset photo: Tyler Swafford and Allie Maples