Back to NYC: Miami's All-Time High at the Downtown

This past weekend Miami A, team 1075, faced old rivals, Ivy Leagues, and a blizzard as they competed in the most prestigious tournament of the year, NYU's the Downtown.  The Downtown is one of three top tier tournaments before the National Tournament in April. For the programs who are lucky enough to be invited to attend this distinguished tournament, this will be the last time they are able to argue the case Park v. Duran at such a highly competitive level before the new case is released for the National Tournament. Joining Miami in NYC were such teams as UCI, Duke, National Champions UCLA, GAMTI winners Harvard, and many more. There are four rounds in the tournament featuring five judges each. That's twenty ballots that determine who will face of in the final fifth round that decides the tournament winner.

Miami A was eighth in the challenge order at the Downtown and would be singled out by an old rival, UVA. Miami elected to go plaintiff for their first round, featuring newly returned competitor Christina Romine as psychologist, Dr. Emerson Couples and new A team competitor Zach Stevens as police officer Dale Williams.  In the first round of the tournament, Miami would go 3-2 against UVA (+8, +8, +8, -1, -2)

In their second round, Miami would be defense against southern powerhouse, Furman University, the alma mater of Miami A's coach and two time All-American, Lawrence Hilton. In unprecedented numbers, Miami managed to sweep Furman and gain all five ballots, the only sweep of the tournament thus far.  At the end of the first day of competition, Miami was 8-2 and tied for current first place.

The morning of the second day of competition saw Miami going defense against Princeton. To guarantee a showing in the championship round, the A team would need to take all five ballots once again. However, Princeton was not an easy opponent to defeat and Miami would take three of the five ballots from the eventual second place team.

Only one other team at the Downtown had the same 11-4 record as Miami. GAMTI Tournament Champions and current favorites of the Mock Trial community, Harvard University, also had an 11-4 record. It would only be natural for the two winners of the other two top tier tournaments, GAMTI and the Beach Party, to face off in an effort to compete for the Downtown Championship trophy.  In a stunning twist of events however, halfway through the fourth trial, one of the rounds' five judges had a medical emergency and could not continue. Both teams had to decide if they wanted a replacement judge or if they would agree to a tied ballot. Eventually, tournament host and NYU Mock Trial alum Justin Matarrese managed to find a solution both teams found acceptable. They would weight the ballots, making each point worth 1.25 in order to replicate the fifth judge's ballot. In a round that both teams and spectators considered one of the best of not only the tournament but of the season, Miami would unfortunately drop all five ballots to eventual tournament champions Harvard.

Miami would go 11-9 with a CS of 42 which earned them a fifth place finish behind Rhodes College, Duke University, Princeton, and Harvard. Matthew Meeks earned a top attorney award on the defense side of the case with 45 ranks out of a possible 50.

However it seems that New York couldn't get enough of Miami A. In a bizarre series of events the A team found themselves stranded in NYC by a blizzard. The storm, originally expected to bypass New York and hit Pennsylvania, managed to reroute itself and was expected to blanket the northeast in over thirty inches of snow. Flights all across the board were canceled and the Monday flight the A team was supposed to be on was no exception.  Miami A found themselves booked on an afternoon flight for Wednesday and two extra days in NYC watching the snow slowly build up around them.

Miami A has three weeks until they compete at the Oxford, OH Regional tournament hosted by Miami University at the Farmer School of Business. They will be joined by the developmental team, Miami D.


The A Team:

Record: 11-9 | CS: 42 | OCS: Unavailable | PD: Unavailable | Team #: 1075

Coaches: Lawrence Hilton, Gus Lazares

Competitors: Matt Meeks, Monika Mudd, Taylor Seay, Najeeb Ahmed, Sam Hobbs, Christina Romine, Ben Sandlin, Zach Stevens, Elias Demeropolis, John Spear, 

Henry Leaman