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ULM’s Mock Trial teams complete second season

Published March 12, 2014

The University of Louisiana at Monroe recently sent two teams— a gold squad and a maroon squad— to the American Mock Trial Association Regional Tournament hosted by Mississippi College in Jackson, Miss., to compete against teams from colleges across Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, and Texas.

The gold squad finished the weekend 4-4, with victories over The University of Texas, University of Memphis, and Middle Tennessee State University. The gold squad finished 10th out of 22 teams and had the fourth-toughest schedule, according to the American Mock Trial Association scoring system.

A very narrow five-point loss against Florida State University—the defending national champions—and a two-point loss to the University of Texas, prevented them from moving on to the opening National Championship round.

“ULM Mock Trial has now shown their ability to compete with anyone in the nation,” said Jonathan Cobb, a political science major from West Monroe and captain of the gold squad. “We were able to build off of last year’s season due to increased support from faculty at ULM and the Monroe/West Monroe legal community. With the team’s current trajectory of improvement and support, ULM Mock Trial will be a serious competitor in next year’s regional tournament and, quite possibly, beyond.”

The team members are reaching new heights in their second year of competition.

“The experience of this year’s regional tournament was totally different from last year’s,” said Gabriel Silva, an attorney on the gold squad and a finance and political science double major from Brazil. “We were really close to being one of the top seven teams and to advancing to the national tournament. It was amazing to see how much our rhetoric and argumentative skills improved in only one year.”

The maroon squad finished the weekend with a 3-5 record, with victories over the University of Mississippi and Samford.

“Mock Trial has taught me so much,” said Sierra Lovell, an attorney on the maroon squad and political science major from Rayville. “I can't wait to apply what I’ve learned to my years to come and to law school after I graduate. I know this team going to be even stronger next year thanks to our coaches and supporters.”

The gold squad is coached by attorney Robert Noel; the maroon squad is coached by attorney Kyle Moore.

“Their success is a product of their dedication, determination, and teamwork,” said Noel. “These students competed against some of the best mock trial teams in the nation. They will find this to be an invaluable learning experience for them as they progress in their careers.”


Both squads are advised by ULM political science professors Dr. Joshua Stockley and Dr. John Sutherlin.

Stockley commented, “This year, we were the only university in the entire state of Louisiana competing in mock trial. I’m so proud of our students and their willingness to study, to train, to travel, and to compete against some of the best teams in the nation. What we have done with this program in only two years is a remarkable testament to the coaches—Bob Noel and Kyle Moore—as well as the students.”

Sutherlin works with the witnesses and helps them create believable characters.


“My experience in theater and film has helped me with their training, but they are the ones that deserve all the credit,” said Sutherlin. “I just show them a few techniques.”

The ULM Mock Trial team won multiple awards this season. Jonathan Cobb won two Best Attorney awards. Hilary Solet, a political science major from Houma, won an Honorable Mention for best attorney. Cheyenne Wilson, a political science major from Shreveport, won a Best Witness award. 

“With every competition, we strive to get better first as a team and then second as individuals,” said Wilson. “Everyone has to play a part and everyone has to be committed if any of us are to succeed.” 

The gold team is led by senior attorneys Gabriel Silva and Jonathan Cobb. Adam Nettles, a history major from Pineville, competes as the third attorney for the gold team.

Gold team witnesses are Joseph Bamburg, a political science major from St. Joseph, Taylor Ezell, a political science major from Delhi, Raya Boyte, a political science major from Oak Grove, Olivia Sage, a history major from Alexandria, and Cheyenne Wilson.

The maroon team is led by senior attorney Gary Blaylock, a political science major from Columbia. Sierra Lovell and Hilary Solet, political science majors from Houma, compete as the second and third attorneys for the maroon team.

The maroon team witnesses are Sharmaine Tramble, a political science major from Monroe, Nic Rose, a political science major from West Monroe, Quientinn Smith, a political science major from Monroe, and Charles Dupree, a history major from Pioneer.

ULM is the only four-year public university in the state of Louisiana with an active AMTA-affiliated mock trial team. ULM’s team was founded in 2013.

ULM Mock Trial team members: back row from L to R: Charles Dupree, Taylor Ezell, Adam Nettles, Jonathan Cobb, Nic Rose, Quientinn Smith, Gabriel Silva, Joseph Bamburg, and Gary Blaylock. Front row from L to R: Cheyenne Wilson, Olivia Sage, Sierra Lovell, Hilary Solet, and Raya Boyte
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