This weekend, MMT's top two teams, the A Team and the B Team, will compete in this semester's marquee competition, UC-Irvine's Beach Party Invitational in Newport Beach, CA. Unlike most invitationals, the Beach Party is a bracket based tournament where programs must rely on the success of both of their two teams to advance in the standings. For Miami, there is only one end in sight: first place.
"Historically, California has been good for us," said senior A Team competitor Brad Ouambo. "And we're more talented on paper than we've been in a long time. So this year the expectations are high."
The A Team enters California sitting at 11-12-1 on the season. After placing fourth at their first tournament of the season, the A Team left the Great American Mock Trial Invitational in DC with a losing record. It was a disappointing finish for an all senior team that boasts some of Miami's most elite talent in recent memory. But the A Team, coached by Dan Haughey and Neal Schuett, has not lost faith. On the contrary, the team's ten seniors are energized. Retooling their case theories and doubling down on their efforts, MMT's A Team looks poised to come out of the gate swinging.
For Lawrence Hilton's B Team, first place in Newport would mark his squad's second victory in two tournaments. At Illinois State earlier this season, the B Team took first place with a record of 7-1. With the potential to go down in history as one of Miami's most dominant B teams, the B Team will have to adjust to a level of competition beyond what they saw in Illinois. At the Beach Party, all of the 12 competing schools are ranked within the nation's top 15 mock trial programs. It's a challenge both Miami squads appear to be up to, after last night's scrimmage in which the two teams went tit for tat.
MMT will arrive in California on Friday and compete in two rounds on Saturday and two rounds on Sunday. The tournament will be hosted in the Newport Beach Harbor Justice Center. This year, students will hope to win the Alex Block award, named after current Miami A Team member Alex Block. Last year, Mr. Block was the tournament's highest ranked competitor.
"Two teams, one program," said B Team competitor Ben Sandlin. "Miami is ready to go."
More about the Miami teams competing here.
More about the Beach Party Invitational here.