The Daily Gamecock

USC Mock Trial wins Carolina Classic

USC defeats Harvard, Duke, others to top Elon tournament

The USC Mock Trial team defeated the likes of Harvard, Duke, and George Washington University to win first place at this weekend’s Carolina Classic Mock Trial Invitational, hosted by Elon University.

At its first competition this semester, the team placed first among 24 teams from 19 colleges, including last year’s champion, the University of Virginia.

“It’s definitely a great way to start the year, especially because we had never won or even placed at the tournament before,” said first-year psychology student Caroline Worthy, a witness on the team.

Worthy said this competition marks a strong start for the Mock Trial team.

“We won all but one round, and we only lost that round by one vote,” said president and fourth-year English student John Gulledge, who also won an individual award for outstanding attorney and placed first out of about 100 attorneys at the competition.

The team argued both sides of an extreme reckless murder case over many rounds against different competing universities’ teams. The case, involving the death of a young woman riding with a drunk driver, was a new challenge to the team.

“We’ve never had an extreme reckless murder case before,” Gulledge said. “In the past, it’s been more cut-and-dry murder cases, like someone pulls out a gun and shoots another person. It’s definitely not our usual case, but it has been fun and interesting to work with.”

In the case, the defendant was charged with both driving under the influence and murder.

“The Carolina Classic is one of the hardest tournaments we compete at during the season and, as far as being easy, I’d say that was the last thing it was,” said Rachel Boone, a second-year anthropology student. “During every round we were on our toes. There were great competitors and strong teams this weekend and I’m very proud of my team for coming out on top.”

Including Worthy and Boone, four of the team’s 16 new members competed at the tournament.

“Four of them had never been to a tournament before or even scrimmaged the case before, which was worrisome, but it paid off,” Gulledge said.

Neither Worthy nor fellow witness Boone, both of whom have experience in speech and debate, had any previous mock trial experience.

“This being my first competition, I thought I had an idea of what to expect, but someone can explain to you a million times over the workings of mock trial and until you experience them you’ll never get the full picture,” Boone said. “Over the weekend it really came into view what a team collaboration it really was.”

The team’s next competition will be the Capital City Invitational hosted by Florida State University from Nov. 5 through Nov. 6, but Gulledge is looking forward to the Mid-South Invitational hosted by Middle Tennessee State University. The competition, taking place Nov. 11 and 12, is the team’s biggest tournament this semester. The USC Mock Trial team will face 66 others at this tournament.

“We’ve won this tournament two years in a row, so hopefully we’ll win again,” Gulledge said.