Good programs don't rebuild, they just reload. For MMT, that adage couldn't have seemed more true this past weekend in Washington, PA.
MMT's senior-ladened A Team and the freshmen-ladened developmental team, Jamaican Justice, were assigned to the Washington PA Regional Qualifying Tournament with 20 other teams from across the region. Hosted by Washington and Jefferson College, the top 7 qualifying teams earned bids for their respective programs to the next round of tournaments known as the Opening Round Championship Series (or ORCS). MMT's B Team and the second developmental team, the All-American Redirects, are assigned to the Cincinnati regional next weekend February 22-23.
Dan Haughey and Neal Schuett's A Team was favored to win at Washington & Jefferson and it didn't disappoint. The veteran team was the only squad of the 22 to sweep for a perfect 8-0 record crushing each opponent along the way. Dickinson College, the University of Cincinnati, The Ohio State University, and Indiana University all fell by the way side as the A Team took all their ballots by a double-digit average of 12.5 points. The A Team now moves to 35-27-2 on the season.
"We now feel we're in a position to really make a dent," said senior-competitor Allie Pickerill. "This tournament we came into our own as a team and as a unit and we're ready for what's next. We can ride this 8-0 high all the way to a national championship."
The squad also garnered an unheard-of six individual awards. Deb O'Neal, Lauren Yates and Zowoi Malakpa were all named outstanding witnesses. The recognition marked Ms. Yates' third witness award of the season and Mr. Malakpa's and Ms. O'Neal's second. Brandon Patterson and Alex Block were named outstanding attorneys. Mr. Block was awarded for his performance on both sides of the case and he was the highest ranking attorney of the tournament. The awards were Mr. Block's fifth and sixth of the year as he has now secured five awards in the past three tournaments.
"I've been having fun with my performances all year long," said Mr. Malakpa. "But receiving recognition always feels good. It's even more rewarding knowing what I did helped us go undefeated."
"Everyone contributed," said Ms. O'Neal. "And that's when you know you're really a team. Watching someone like Jazmine Kee, as a freshman, get called up to the big-leagues and perform in a really hard role and do as well as she did: that gives us a lot of hope how we're gonna close out this season."
Ms. Kee, a first-year at Miami who began the season on the B Team, was called up to the A Team to fill a niche role only two weeks prior to Washington & Jefferson. "Being able to make the leap and give the best performance I've ever delivered was incredibly rewarding," said Ms. Kee.
For Dan Herron's Jamaican Justice, the squad didn't let its "developmental team" moniker preclude them from earning a bid. Expected to make little noise as "too young and inexperienced" the squad "locked and loaded." The team took it to the opposition finishing 6-2 and in third place. Further, the team tagged a second place 7-1 Patrick Henry A Team, a consistent mock trial power from northern Virginia, with their only loss. After sweeping Duquesne University and then splitting ballots with Villanova, winning by 16 and losing the second ballot by 6, the freshmen-ladened Miami squad took on undefeated and heavily favored Patrick Henry. Jamaican Justice split the two ballots and entered the final round with a 4-2 record. Drawing Cincinnati, the Miami squad won both ballots handily and secured the third place finish with a 6-2 record behind the 8-0 Miami A Team and 7-1 Patrick Henry.
Even more stunning was the team's securing four individual awards: Katie O'Keeffe and Oliver Zoellner were named outstanding regional witnesses while Adam Korn and Ryan Rugani snagged outstanding regional attorney honors.
Overall, the two MMT teams took 10 of the 30 individual awards.
Jamaican Justice moves to over .500 for the first time this year.
"We started our season 1-6-1. We finished 6-2 and having won a bid to ORCS," said first-year witness Katie O'Keeffe. "I could not be more proud of my team."
MMT's B Team coached by Lawrence Hilton and Missi Schuett as well as MMT's second developmental team, the All-American Redirects, coached by Professor Laura Tholke and Jaime Glinka, will be in competition next weekend in Cincinnati. Unfortunately only two teams from any one school may advance to the next set of tournaments: the Opening Round Championship Series, held in March. Miami may well have four teams qualify but only two may advance. But, after this past weekend, Miami has already punched its ticket to advance two squads to post-regional competition. Further, it put the mock trial world on notice---even a Miami "D" team with so-called "inexperienced and young competitors" is a force to be reckoned with-----when Miami's ten mock trial seniors graduate this year, Miami will be ready---to reload!
Record: 8-0 | CS: 13.5 | OCS: 73.5 | PD: +99 | Team #: 1158
Coaches: Dan Haughey, Neal Schuett
Competitors: Alex Block, Allie Pickerill, Brad Ouambo, Brandon Patterson, Claire Meikle, David Payne, Deb O'Neal, Dylan Grafe (did not compete), Jazmine Kee, Lauren Yates, Zowoi Malakpa
Record: 6-2 | CS: 16.5 | OCS: 72.5 | PD: 37 | Team #: 1161
Coaches: Dan Herron
Competitors: Adam Korn, Chelsea Appiah, Christine Ostrosky, Frances Djabatey, Katie O'Keeffe, Oliver Zoellner, Ryan Rugani, Zachary Stevens
Alex Block (∆, 20 ranks | π, 16 ranks)
Ryan Rugani (π, 18 ranks)
Brandon Patterson (π, 17 ranks)
Adam Korn (∆, 16 ranks)
Katie O'Keeffe (∆, 17 ranks)
Oliver Zoellner (π, 16 ranks)
Zowoi Malakpa (∆, 16 ranks)
Deb O'Neal (π, 15 ranks)
Lauren Yates (π, 15 ranks)