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Eastern Kentucky University’s Mock Trial Program is headed back to nationals after finishing in second place at the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) Regional 3C Tournament on February 20-21, 2021.

"We've had great teams the last couple of years but hit some bad luck at regionals and didn't get a bid. I'm thrilled that our students have earned this opportunity to show what they can do at the national level," said Tom Parker, assistant professor in the Department of Government's Paralegal Programs and a longtime coach for the EKU Mock Trial program. "Accomplishing this in a year when we have met and competed entirely online is a testament to the commitment and work ethic of our students."

EKU finished with a 7-1 record in the online tournament, defeating teams from the Air Force Academy, Patrick Henry College and the University of Minnesota, and earning a split with American University. The team's impressive performance earned EKU a bid to the first level of national competition, the AMTA Opening Round Championships, in mid-March. 

“The team has peaked at the right time this year. In its final invitational before regionals, EKU placed third at the highly competitive Swamp Invitational hosted by the University of Florida, then followed that with a second-place finish at the AMTA regional,” said Parker. 

Abbey Birch, a junior political science major from Union, was the only competitor in the 20-team tournament to earn an Outstanding Attorney Award on both sides of the mock trial case. Houston Abbott, a junior broadcasting and electronic media major from Corbin, and Kate Richardson, a junior political science major from Richmond, earned Outstanding Witness Awards for their performances in the tournament. Richardson is a member of the EKU Honors Program.

Other members of EKU’s first-place squad include Ethan Fowlie, a junior fire protection engineering and arson investigation major from Saint Charles, Missouri; Carley Frost, a freshman from London; Ruth Speidel, a dual B.S./M.S. chemistry student from Jerseyville, Illinois; and Danielle Underwood, a junior paralegal science major from Olive Hill. Fowlie, Frost, and Speidel are also members of the EKU Honors Program.

EKU’s mock trial program is sponsored by the EKU College of Letters, Arts, & Social Sciences (CLASS). Faculty coaches from the EKU Department of Government’s Paralegal Program are Lynnette Noblitt, Tom Parker, and James Pennington.