Washburn Law Alum Ben Long Awarded Best Team Coach at AMTA's Largest Tournament in Nation

BPhotograph: Ben Longen Long, '11, started coaching Kansas State University's (KSU) Mock Trial Team in January 2010, when the team was in its infancy. Long helped write the original curriculum for his undergraduate alma mater, and now manages competition preparation. Long is assisted by Britain Stites, ba ’07, and jd ’10, who is helping to hone students’ understanding of case management and theory. Long and Stites competed together on Washburn Law’s Trial Team.

Under Long and Stites’ coaching, KSU’s Mock Trial Team traveled to Loras College in Iowa on February 12 where they swept individual awards and earned top honors in three categories, winning outstanding attorney, witness, and coach award. Long was awarded "Best Team Coach" for his dedication and support to the team. The coach’s award is given based on recommendations by each team for their coach, followed by a panel interview with judges. More than 500 students from 51 teams representing 33 schools competed in the Loras College Invitational tournament — including many of the top ranked teams in the nation — making it American Mock Trial Association ’s (AMTA) largest tournament in the nation.

Washburn University hosted AMTA’s regional tournament on February 14-16. KSU had one team place in third (out of 22 teams) and will advance to the Opening Round Championship Tournament in St. Louis the weekend of March 14. One of Long and Stites’ team members, Torrey Peterson, received the "Best Attorney" award. She was the only “attorney” to receive a perfect 20/20 score among more than 70 attorneys who competed.

Long and Stites competed against their former Washburn Law Trial Team coach Danielle Hall, who also coaches Washburn University’s trial team. “We were up against the powerhouse of the region — Washburn,” commented Long. But, because he learned Washburn’s advocacy competition style, which he now teaches, his young KSU team is able to compete with the best college mock trial teams in the country. Danielle, along with her husband Jay, coach Washburn Law’s Trial Team. “They are stellar coaches,” said Long.

On a historic note, Long was the first recipient of Washburn Law’s Trial Team Leadership Scholarship/Award, and advocacy scholarship sponsored by the Halls.

For Long, the rewards of coaching come when he sees students develop strategic, critical thinking, and extemporaneous speaking skills. “I’m impressed the most when students demonstrate that they can try a case because they’ve been taught the whole process,” Long expressed.

Two former members of a KSU team coached by Long, Brandon Katt and Collin Reynolds, now attend Washburn Law. Both are using their Mock Trial Team skills and having success in their first year at Washburn Law.

Long is an attorney with the law firm Schlagel Kinzer LLC in Olathe, Kansas. Stites is an assistant public defender at North Central Region Public Defender’s Office in Junction City, Kansas.

UPDATE: The Kansas State University Mock Trial Team competed in the St. Louis Opening Round Championship Series (OCRS) Tournament on March 14-16, 2014 at Washington University. The team finished in the top six at OCRS and is one of the 48 teams nationwide to earn a bid to the American Mock Trial Association's 30th National Championship Tournament to be held April 11-13, 2014, at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.