Triumphant Victories in Bloomington
This past weekend, Miami Mock Trial sent it's B and newly formed C team two states over to compete at Illinois State's Eleventh Annual Mock Trial Invitational, hosted in the McClean county Law and Justice Center. MMT rode in on high hopes; Miami has placed top two at ISU over the past two years, and was eager to keep on a roll. Little did they know the weekend would bring them twists, turns, and a riveting battle until the very end.
How to Go 6-2 in Five Days or Less: The Story of Miami C
After restacking the former C and D teams, Coaches Laura Powell, Alex Block, and Zowoi Malakpa had an interesting challenge - prepare a brand new team of sophomores and freshmen for competition in only 4 practices. “Dr. Couples [AMTA Case Character] said it best - It's not ideal, and it poses some challenges. However, these kids wouldn't be here if we didn't think they were up to the task," coach Zowoi Malakpa said regarding the difficulties.
For the first round at ISU, the C team joined the B team in a collective battle against Northern Illinois. Both teams would score two big wins when they swept Northern Illinois, with a collective difference of +33. "It was a relief," reported C team Captain Zach Stevens. "Especially when you get can some immediate feedback on how your case is going."
The second round posed an enormous challenge when Miami C faced off against National Competitors and eventual tournament champions, Cornell College A. Cornell, who had beaten the MockHawks last week at the Xavier Invitational, and placed first in that tournament, were an intimidating opponent. "Showtime!" quipped first year competitor Austin Worrell. Despite their determination, Miami would be swept by Cornell with a loss of -1 -13. "It's frustrating, but understandable. They have an All-American on the stand against our freshman witnesses. In the end, it's a valuable experience," lamented Ryan Rugani following the round.
The third round had the C team facing off against Quincy College, a public junior college located in Quincy, Massachusetts. The C team would rebound by a large margin, winning +12 +14. That momentum carried them into the fourth round where they played against Eastern Kentucky B. The C team would sweep +1 +6. "After basically living in [Farmer School of Business] for 4 days, 5-11pm, I think 4-0 isn't too bad after 2 rounds." Cali Ford jokingly said on her way to closing ceremonies.
The C team would finish with a record of 6-2, and would have one Outstanding Attorney Award for Ryan Rugani, earning them an Honorable Mention in the tournament.
Continuing a Tradition of Excellence
Miami B walked into the McClean County Courthouse as the only Miami program left with a record under .500. "Not for long!" replied Imokhai Okolo. His optimism and confidence, as well as that of his nine teammates, would be put to the test.
In the first round, the B team would run plaintiff against Northern Illinois in a glamorous small employee break room on the third floor. "The worst part of Mock Trial is the one point match," plaintiff closer Adam Korn said of the round, after the team found out their final scores of +9 -1. "Overall, we had a good round. But it just takes one wrong word or one wrong question.”
The B team’s second round, against Lewis University, required some last minute footwork due to defense closer and Team Captain, Henry Leaman sitting out over health concerns. The B Team was forced to do a complete one-eighty on the defense bench. The new B Team defense bench brought aboard Team Captain Katie O'Keeffe to become an attorney, Julia Luna learned a new direct, and the B team placed the closing in the hands of second year attorney Spencer Tackkett. Despite the complete role reversal, MMT made it work beautifully, sweeping Lewis +3 +5, including a perfect score of 20 for Tackkett's closing.
The third round brought MMT up against Eastern Kentucky University, and the Miami plaintiff rose to the occasion. Featuring the dynamic performances of Reeti Pal as CSI Sebastian and freshman attorney Dani Kunkel, the B Team swept again, this time +13 +18, allowing them to go into the final round with a record of 5-1.
A fourth round at 5-1 is incredibly delicate in the invitational season. While it guarantees finishing above .500, it also brings together another 5-1 or 6-0 team, both vying for the chance to claim first place. That 5-1 team would be Central Missouri, who would run plaintiff against Miami's defense. Captain Henry Leaman had recovered and the Mockhawks walked into the fourth round ready to earn a trophy. Jazmine Kee would go on to score perfect 10s on both ballots as Jesse Duran, the young girl accused of shooting best friend Sydney Park, and her testimony allowed the B team to sweep Central Missouri, +9 +11. "Witnesses will always win the ballots," Captain Katie O'Keeffe said. "It's thanks to Oliver, Reeti, and Jazmine that we finished the way we did".
The B team would finish second in the tournament behind an undefeated Cornell College. They also would earn one individual Outstanding Witness Award, given to Reeti Pal for her work on the plaintiff side.
Sunshine and Long Breaks
The C team now retires for the semester, hanging their coats up temporarily. They will rejoin the AMTA community in January for the Indiana University Hoosier Hoedown, hosted in Indianapolis.
The B team has a busy week ahead of them, as they must prepare for the California-Irvine Beach Party Invitational. The Beach Party, hailed as one the Top Three tournaments in the nation, requires universities to compete in tandem with another team from their school rather than as individual teams. In 5 days’ time, Miami B will join Miami A in Orange County to compete for Love and Honor.
The B Team:
Record: 7-1 | CS: 17 | OCS: Unavailable | PD: Unavailable | Team #: 1076
Coaches: Neal Schuett, Jaime Glinka
Competitors: Spencer Tackett, Adam Korn, Reeti Pal, Imokhai Okolo, Julia Luna, Dani Kunkel, Katie O'Keeffe, Oliver Zoellner, Henry Leaman, Jazmine Kee
You Gonna Learn Today (Miami C):
Record: 6-2 | CS: 14.5 | OCS: Unavailable | PD: Unavailable | Team #: 1077
Coaches: Laura Tholke, Zowoi Malakpa, Alex Block
Competitors: Cali Ford, Esther Ladipo, Ryan Rugani, Zach Stevens, Austin Worrell, Bella Seesberg, Tarah Mason, Chase Shelton
Ryan Rugani (π, 19 ranks)
Reeti Pal (π, 18 ranks)