By Scott Holmes
Who dunnit? Liable or not liable? These are some of the queries you get to consider when you mock and roll. What does the mock stand for? It is mock trial of course, a student organization here on campus with a proud tradition. Mock trial was started nationally in 1985 by Dean Richard Calkins of Drake Law School according to the AMTA official website, www.collegemocktrial.org The lead advisor and coach at the University of Wisconsin
Superior is Dr. Maria Cuzzo, just one of the many irons she has in the fire. UWS has fielded a team for over 25 years and Dr. Cuzzo has been involved for 23 years. It is about more than winning or losing. When asked what the best part of mock trial is Dr. Cuzzo said: “Seeing Mockers learn, grow, and progress as individuals and teams.”
Who are these mockers? This year’s team featured mocker’s that were freshmen through seniors, aged 18-51, and that was just the team members. Besides Dr. Cuzzo there were three other coaches giving two nights of the week and some weekends for travel as well, all voluntarily. One coach was District Attorney of Douglass County, Mark Fruehauf, the two others are a dedicated married couple and alums of UWS and the mock trial team.
One of the returning mockers was sophomore Karlie Mattson, she put in extra time as one of the captains of the team. This star attorney won a number of individual awards as outstanding attorney throughout the year. It is the team aspect and the friends made that draws her in. “I know that if I didn’t do mock trial, I would miss it too much. It also really helps that I have such great teammates:) the best part of the organization is the people that you meet and the friends that you make.”
The mocking madness starts in September with recruitment on campus. During the informational meetings you are given an overview of the fun you will have and the commitment required. This is a commitment to be sure as the season runs through at least February depending on the success of the year. The team competes in six tournaments including regionals at the end of the year. Other than the tournament that UWS hosts, the team travels over the weekend to compete. The organization covers the hotel, with you taking care of your food expense. It takes six mockers to field a team for a round, each tournament has four rounds, two on defense, and two on plaintiff for the case this year.
This year’s squad had nine student mockers, and only two had previous college mocking experience. This meant they were only able to field one team all year. They were pretty green to start the year and it showed at the first tournament at the University of Minnesota main campus. UWS did win the spirit award for sportsmanship. By the time UWS hosted their tournament in December, it was the fourth tournament and they swept the field, winning the tournament and bringing home four individual awards for outstanding attorney and witness. Dr. Cuzzo doesn’t like to brag, but she points out some of the past successes, she notes, “We qualified for Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS) for over a dozen years, and nationals twice.” She goes on to say, “We’ve had many Outstanding Witness and Our standing Attorney award winners. Mockers always bring honor to UW-Superior.”
So next fall when you see some of your classmates tabling at Jacket Fest early in the year for mock trial, just mock on over and get your groove on. You can mock on with your bad self, to quote a 70’s song. It is a commitment, and a little work, but you will have friends you never thought you would have and you too can, Mock & Roll.