WHITTIER – Rio Hondo College is fielding its first mock trial team, which will compete as one of two community colleges at the American Mock Trial Association’s (AMTA) Claremont Regional Tournament, set for Feb. 25-26.

The team features seven Rio Hondo College students, who will compete against teams from UCLA, CSU Fresno, Cal Poly Pomona, Claremont McKenna, Loyola Marymount, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, San Diego State University and Moorpark College.

The competitions focus on leadership, public speaking, rhetoric and persuasion through a legal forum. About 25 regional tournaments are held across the country as the first round of the AMTA’s annual national tournament.

“It’s exciting to see Rio Hondo College step up to compete in mock trial, which will provide our students with an excellent experience,” Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss said. “Rio Hondo College is known for our superb forensics and debate team, and this new effort will complement that effort as well as our Pathway to Law School program.”

The team members are Melissa De Leon, Ryan Serrano, Samuel Beltran, Lupita Ventura, Luis Hinojosa, Summer Gomez and Patricia Hughes.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Rio Hondo Team to go against seasoned programs and showcase our skill and knowledge,” Board of Trustees President Norma Edith Garcia said. “I wish our students the greatest of success as they represent the Roadrunners.”

Success at the tournament could earn Rio Hondo College a berth at the California Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS) Tournament, set for March 25-26 in Fresno. The top six teams from each of the eight ORCS tournaments across the country compete in the AMTA National Championship Tournament in April.