There's No Place Like Home...
That was the feeling resonating with teams 1103 and 1104 this weekend, as they walked into Xavier University's Alter Hall. "It's nice to not have to drive through the night just to get to a tournament," sophomore James Gale told us. "Also, the judging pool seems to know our style, so we just have to play our game."
For Miami B, this was a chance to close out a semester with three straight First Place trophies. After taking First Place at Ohio State's Scarlet and Grey Tournament in early October, and then following up with another First Place at Vanderbilt's Grand Ole Touranment, Miami B had the opportunity to replicate Miami A's magical run last year.
For Miami C, this was the final tournament before students left for Winter break. "We're in perfect position," Captain Chase Shelton said "There's a lot of A teams here, all of whom are ORCS level competitors. We're the underdogs this weekend, and I love it."
Miami B: Slow and Steady
Miami B ran its defense first round against Loyola Chicago B, a team out for blood following Iowa's Cornshucker Challange two weeks ago, where Miami A swept Loyola's top team. Stepping up to the plate for MMT was junior Bella Seeberg, whose opening statement immediately swung the judges in favor of the defense. With witness talents in Maria Hooker and James Gale, Miami B felt confident they had impressed the judges. One judge handsomely awarded his ballot to the Mockhawks, +20. But the other judge was unclear. In comments, MMT learned that their cross-examinations were too rough for this judge, and her ballot was narrowly awarded to Loyola, who took the ballot +2. "You can't win them all, and you can't account for all the styles out there." Sophomore Kate Milders told her team afterwards.
The second round had the potential to be one for the ages: Miami B v. Bellarmine A. "This team has been lurking in the shadows my entire career," Junior Julia Pair said (rather dramatically) "They've been tough competition, and we have always been neck and neck with them." This time, Miami would ensure there would be no second guessing for the judges. With Bella Seeberg again taking the Opening Statement, Miami took the momentum and carried it into their first Direct examination. "This is where we knew we were off to a good start" junior Maria Hooker later said. She was referring to the first witness-attorney pair, Miami B's only two freshmen competitors: Stephanie Sorich and Michael Markoff. "When they took off, we were so jazzed. We went off after that." It wasn't close: Miami swept the round +19 +8.
"It feels like ORCS honestly" said junior Da'Rya McAllister "We're playing a bunch of A teams, so the rounds are certainly intense." Round three would prove to be no different, as Miami B would run Plaintiff against University of Cincinnati's A team. Historically referred to as the "Battle for the Victory Bell", Miami B would have the chance to upset a major ORCS contender. Sensing this urgency, Miami's attorney bank exploded. Sophomore Katie Milders broke the round wide open in her cross examination, and Freshman Stephanie Sorich took advantage of the Redhawk momentum. With these sudden bursts of power, Miami B would sweep Cincinnati +10 +8.
With the Victory Bell (figuratively) safe in Oxford's hands, Miami B sat at 5-1. The tournament was within reach, they only needed to pry two ballots away from their final opponent to overtake Wheaton College. "It all comes down to this" coach Matt Rich said "We have to take two. What's done is done, just focus on this round, right now."
'This round' would pit Miami B against Gonzaga A, who had just finished playing Xavier University that morning. Miami's witness bank of McAllister, Hooker, and Gale fought for every inch of the trial, while junior closer Julia Pair felt the trial getting closer by the minute "It felt like one of those days where you push and push, but don't make any breakthroughs. I think it will come down to style" she said afterwards.
In the end, Julia Pair's comments would prove prophetic: Miami split the round +3 -1. This would keep Miami out of the tiebreaker for First Place, and earn them the Third Place trophy. "Ultimately, taking that last ballot wouldn't have been enough" coach Gus Lazares informed his team "Xavier [who finished First Place] had such a high CS, we would have lost the tiebreaker with them anyway. The tournament is still a success: playing three quality A teams and not getting swept? That's a good spot to be in." Bella Seeberg would finish with two Outstanding Attorney Awards, one for each side of the case. "It's been a long time coming," her teammate Da'Rya McAllister said afterwards.
For Miami C, the weekend was an intense proving ground. Battling Notre Dame A, Bellarmine A, Dayton A, and Kentucky B, Miami C took a ballot from every single A team they faced. "When our freshman are playing seniors from these ORCS schools, we know it's an uphill battle," coach Ben Sandlin told us, "but to think they we could split with Notre Dame and Bellarmine - Nationally qualifying teams - I think it tells us a lot about this class of mockers." Miami C would finish 5-3, and freshman Madeline Witte would earn an Outstanding Attorney award for her efforts. She would be the first freshman to earn an award this year.
This would cap a great semester for both teams, and signal the coming of winter break. But the Mockhawks must stay vigiliant! Playoffs are right around the corner, and they will only have one tournament - Indiana's Hoosier Hoedown - before the Road to LA begins.
Record: 6-2 | CS: 17 | OCS: NA | PD: +62 | Team #: 1103
Coaches: Gus Lazares, Matt Rich, Lawrence Hilton
Competitors: James Gale, Maria Hooker, Da'Rya McAllister, Michael Markoff, Katie Milders, Julia Pair, Bella Seeberg, Stephanie Sorich
Record: 5-3 | CS: 13 | OCS: NA | PD: +19 | Team #: 1104
Coaches: Ben Sandlin
Competitors: Toni Bernardi, Aaron Brooks, Trisha Chatterjee, August Hagemann, Clayton Kohut, Lindsey McCready, Chase Mulholland, Maggie Olding, Zoe Philips, Kayli Torres, Madeline Witte
Bella Seeberg (π, 19 ranks, ∆, 18 ranks )
Madeline Witte (∆, 17 ranks)