From the Big Apple to the Nation's Capital
This past weekend, Miami A (Team 1075) competed in the Great American Mock Trial Invitational hosted by the University of Virginia. The tournament is held in Washington, D.C at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse, right in the very heart of the nation’s capital. GAMTI, as the tournament is commonly known, is one of the biggest tournaments of the season in terms of the quality of the competitors; teams are required to be power-stacked in order to attend. Joining Miami A in D.C. were teams such as Harvard, Yale, Furman, Princeton, and defending National Champions UCLA, among many other mock trial powerhouses. Only two of Miami A’s members had competed at GAMTI before – Captain Matthew Meeks and Najeeb Ahmed. “GAMTI is like no other mock trial tournament,” said Meeks. “The biggest players in AMTA are here in a place where Miami, unfortunately, traditionally never does well.”
During opening ceremonies, Miami was the second team challenged, by Harvard University. Miami elected to go plaintiff, and did so against a program that had done exceedingly well in Orlando last April; Harvard left the sunshine state with a second place trophy, and two returning All-Americans in Zach Fields and Neil Alacha.Though it was a very competitive first round, in the end, Miami would lose all three ballots to the eventual tournament champions. In the second round, Miami defense went up against NYU plaintiff. After a hard hitting round against the eventual 8th place team at GAMTI, Miami would take all three ballots. Miami would end the first day of GAMTI sitting at 3-3 but, the A team knew they weren’t out of the running yet.
The third round of the tournament brought Miami face to face with defending National Champions UCLA. With Miami running defense, Senior Matthew Meeks would deliver a stellar opening statement and Junior Najeeb Ahmed would end the defense case-in-chief with a truly remarkable portrayal of gun expert Dr. Ash DeRosa. All-American Monika Mudd went up against All-American Kyle DeCamp in her role as Jesse Duran, the witness accused of shooting best friend, Sydney Park. At the end of a trial that coach Gus Lazares described as “better than any Sunday morning football game”, Miami would take all three ballots from UCLA.
In the fourth and final round at GAMTI, Miami A, sitting with a record of 6-3 knew they had an excellent chance of breaking the ‘GAMTI curse’ and leaving the competition with a positive record. However fate, in the form of Duke University, would intervene. Having faced Duke last weekend in the final round of CUBAIT and losing the tournament to them by a -1 ballot, Miami A was set to redeem themselves going plaintiff against Duke’s defense. However, they would drop all three ballots to Duke, who would place 2nd in the tournament behind Harvard.
Miami would leave GAMTI with a 6-6 record, a 10th place finish, an incredible CS of 31 and four individual awards. Outstanding Attorney Awards were presented to John Spear and Matthew Meeks. Outstanding Witness Awards were given to Najeeb Ahmed and Monika Mudd. Miami A now has a three week break in which to prepare for UC Irvine’s Beach Party Tournament. Competitor Sam Hobbs is confident. “Hopefully the west coast will appreciate what our Love & Honor has to offer.”
The A Team
Record: 6-6 | CS: 31 | OCS: 103 | PD: 23 | Team #: 1075
Coaches: Lawrence Hilton, Gus Lazares
Competitors: Matt Meeks, Monika Mudd, Taylor Seay, Najeeb Ahmed, Sam Hobbs, Chelsea Appiah, Ben Sandlin, Elias Demeropolis, John Spear,
Matt Meeks (∆, 29 ranks)
John Spear (∆, 28 ranks)
Monika Mudd (∆, 28 ranks)
Najeeb Ahmed (∆, 26 ranks)