Four rounds in Orlando, Florida.
Two teams from the Miami University James Lewis Family Mock Trial program placed fifth and seventh at the 2014 American Mock Trial Association National Championship Tournament held in Orlando, Fla., April 11-13.
Forty-eight teams competed in the National Tournament after starting the season with a field of more than 650 teams from more than 350 colleges and universities (and more than 5,500 students) — making collegiate mock trial the largest academic competition in the country.
The 48-team National Championship field is divided into two 24-team divisions with the two first-place teams of each division competing in the final round for the National Championship.
Miami's program was one of only four that qualified the maximum two teams to compete in the National tournament. Joining them was Yale University, Rhodes College and the defending National Champions Florida State.
Miami and Rhodes College were the only two schools to place both of their teams in each of the division’s top ten finishers.
The two divisional winners, playing for the National title, were Princeton University and the University of California, Los Angeles; UCLA won the 2014 National Championship
The A Team
Team #1158, The A Team, is coached by Dan Haughey, managing director of Miami's mock trial program, Butler County Area III judge, attorney and visiting assistant professor of business legal studies; and Neal Schuett, attorney and visiting assistant professor of business legal studies.
The A Team won 5th place with seven-and-half wins out of a possible twelve. After taking two ballots from Tufts University, Miami’s top team was drawn up against national contender, the University of Virginia. Though the Redhawks showcased a powerful opening, delivered by senior Brandon Patterson, and commanded attention in their direct examinations, with both seniors Zowoi Malakpa and Deb O’Neal, they dropped two ballots to Virginia. The round proved to be one of the highly anticipated rounds of the tournament, and was one of the most watched matchups of the weekend.
With a .500 record going into the third round, Miami A picked up two more ballots from Cornell College, finishing 5-3 by the end of the second day. The ten competitors would play their last round against Kansas State, winning two ballots and tying the third. This is the eighth straight year Miami has placed within the top 10 of Nationals, and did so with a truly electrifying display of talent. Though the A Team was heavily stacked with eight seniors, they were able to finish strong thanks to the help of their two freshman competitors.
"Miami Mock Trial has an incredible coaching staff, and Dan Haughey and Neal Schuett have a special ability to identify our talents, encourage us and push us to achieve more than we believed was possible," said Claire Meikle, co-captain with Block of the "A" team.
"I've learned to work hard, not just for an award or individual recognition but to do it for my team, for my program and for my school."
The A team finishes 23-4-1 by the end of the postseason, after finishing 8-0 at both the Washington PA. Regional and the Hamilton ORCs, and winning both tournaments.
The B Team
Team #1158, The B team, landed in Orlando with an incredible sense of optimism, eager to face the toughest competition in the nation. They would get that opportunity. In the opening ceremonies, the B team was the last pairing to be drawn, having to face the Downtown Champion, New York University. While the B team was able to call it’s three strongest witnesses against NYU, they ultimately dropped two ballots and tied the third, ending the first day of competition at 0-2-1. The B team was now more determined than ever to win.
Miami B would begin the second day running defense against South Dakota University (a program capable of sweeping Mock Trial heavy-hitter California-Irvine). The B team turned the dial up, and took two ballots, earning another highly competitive round - against the University of Georgia. Facing one of the most highly regarded counsel tables in AMTA, Miami B rose to the challenge. Featuring a jaw-dropping direct of the defendant, portrayed by Monika Mudd and directed by Matthew Meeks, they ended with a dynamite closing by Najeeb Ahmed. The Redhawks took two ballots again, ending the second day with a record of 4-4-1.
They would end their season by sweeping Yale B and finishing in 7th place with a final record of 7-4-1. This would cap off one of the most successful B teams in Miami history, having gone 43-9-4 since the case’s release.
Miami Leads the Way
By the end of the closing ceremonies, Miami had not only placed two teams in the Top Ten, but also furnished three All-Americans.
Alex Block, a four year competitor and senior at Miami, won his second All-American attorney award. This puts the finishing touches one of the most impressive careers in AMTA, topping over 27 awards in the last four years, eight of which were earned in the 2014 season.
Monika Mudd, a third year competitor and junior at Miami, won her first All-American Witness for her portrayal of the defendant, Ms. Whitney Bowman. Her witness was one of the highest scoring on the B team, and it is her fifth witness award.
Elias Demeropolis, a second year competitor and sophomore at Miami, won his first All-American Witness award for his portrayal of Tyler Hartman, an eyewitness to the events of August 30th, 2012. This is his second award for this character, following a high ranking at the prestigious California-Irvine Beach Party Invitational.
The A Team
Record: 7-4-1 | CS: 21.5 | OCS: 99 | PD: +28 | Team #: 1158
Coaches: Dan Haughey, Neal Schuett
Competitors: Alex Block, Allie Pickerill, Brad Ouambo, Brandon Patterson, Claire Meikle, David Payne, Deb O'Neal, Jazmine Kee, Katie O'Keeffe, Lauren Yates, Zowoi Malakpa
The B Team
Record: 7-4-1 | CS: 23 | OCS: N/A | PD: N/A | Team #: 1159
Coaches: Lawrence Hilton, Melissa Schuett
Competitors: Ben Sandlin, Christina Romine, Elias Demeropolis, Henry Leaman, John Spear, Matthew Meeks, Monika Mudd, Najeeb Ahmed, Reeti Pal, Samantha Hobbs
Alex Block (∆, 24 ranks)
Monika Mudd (Π, 22 ranks)
Elias Demeropolis (∆, 22 ranks)