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Bellarmine Mock Trial Team Finishes Strong Season

Apr 02, 2009

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Bellarmine Mock Trial has wrapped up another strong season, bringing national acclaim to the university. After decisively beating the competition in the initial regional tournament, and qualifying two teams for the opening round of the national championship, Bellarmine's season ended this past weekend in Memphis.

The more experienced of Bellarmine's two teams, team 852, effectively ended its chance to advance with a third round loss to hometown Rhodes College. The younger team, team 853, saw its opportunity to be one of the top six qualifying teams vanish in the fourth round against the University of New Hampshire.

"The early end does not diminish one of the most successful seasons in school history," said Matt Rich, one of the Bellarmine coaches.

Team 852 finished the year with 45 wins, 10 losses and five ties, won the most prestigious fall invitational -- the University of Virginia Great American Mock Trial Invitational -- and went undefeated at the Illinois Invitational and at the regional tournament in Louisville.

Team 853 – made up entirely of underclassmen – finished the year with 24 wins, 21 losses and 3 ties, including an excellent third place finish at the Downtown Invitational hosted by New York University.

The teams were coached by Jim Wagoner, an attorney with Ferreri and Fogle in Louisville, Jason Butler, a prosecutor with the Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office, and Rich, an attorney with Katz Teller Brant & Hild in Cincinnati. Wagoner is a founder of the program along with his wife, Ruth Wagoner, a communication professor at Bellarmine. Butler and Rich are alumni of the mock trial program.

Bellarmine's mock trial prominence extends beyond graduation. Alumnus Chris Schaefer, '06, advanced to the final round of the National Law School Mock Trial Championship March 26-28, and was named outstanding advocate in the tournament. Schaefer will finish at the top of his law school class at the University of Kentucky in May. Alumnus John Balenovich coached Louisville Eastern High School into the Kentucky High School Mock Trial State Championship final round, before they lost to Madison Central High School.

Bellarmine Mock Trial is one of the oldest and most successful programs in the country. In the 24 years that the team has competed, Bellarmine has placed first or second in the nation five times and has finished in the top 10 on several other occasions. In 1999, they won the national championship. Bellarmine has qualified at least one team for the national championship tournament in 22 of the past 24 years.

Bellarmine University is an independent Catholic university offering more than 50 majors, as well as graduate degree programs and a doctor of physical therapy. Forbes- magazine and the Princeton Review rank Bellarmine among America’s best colleges, and U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks Bellarmine as a top tier university.

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