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Mock Trial heads to National Championship qualifier

Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 07:02

tuftsMT

Courtesy Nick Teleky

For the first time in Tufts Mock Trial history, four of its teams have qualified for next month’s American Mock Trial Association’s Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS) in Easton, Penn.

 

The Tufts Mock Trial (TMT) team earned bids to send four delegations to next month’s American Mock Trial Association’s Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS) for the first time in university history, where two of the four will contend for a chance to participate the National Championship Tournament.

“A lot of schools only just get one team out of regionals, whereas we got all four teams out, which is something that doesn’t happen very often at all,” TMT External Affairs and Public Relations Officer Nick Teleky said.

While four teams qualified to advance to ORCS, according to American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) rules schools are only allowed to send a maximum of two teams, regardless of the number of bids earned.

The A- and B-teams will head to ORCS in Easton, Penn. from March 15 to 17, where they will compete against 22 other teams to be among the six groups from across the Northeast headed to nationals, according to TMT Co-President Lindsey Wright, a senior.

This year is the sixth consecutive year TMT has made it to ORCS, according to Teleky, a sophomore who serves as a captain of the B-team. He noted that TMT has qualified for nationals every year since 2010.

The four TMT teams placed in the top seven in two regional tournaments earlier this month. The A- and C-teams placed third and sixth, respectively, in the first regional tournament in Manchester, N.H. The B- and D-teams placed fifth and seventh, respectively, in the second regional tournament in Boston.

In addition to finishing ahead in the overall rankings, TMT secured several individual and team awards at the two competitions.

“We got an award called the Spirit of AMTA at the Manchester regionals, which is voted on by your peers,” Wright, who captains the A-team, said. “The A-team won it, and they vote on who they think is the most ethical, cordial and nice team.”

Junior Samantha Sokol, another B-team captain, won both outstanding attorney and outstanding witness awards, and Teleky brought home awards for outstanding attorney on both defense and prosecution sides. Team members returned with five other individual outstanding witness awards and one more outstanding attorney award between the two regional tournaments.

Wright explained that while Tufts, ranked No. 17, qualified four teams for ORCS, this year’s tournament will host some of the toughest competition in the country, after its expanding along the East Coast to include top teams such as the University of Virginia and 2010 National Champions New York University.

“Our ORCS this year is the most competitive it’s ever been,” she said. “Typically, we face most of the New England schools, but since it’s in Easton, they’re pulling up teams like UVA and American and also pulling down teams like NYU, who has won the national championship and is typically one of the best teams in the country.”

The four bids secured at the regional tournament have given the team new confidence as they prepare for ORCS, Wright said. She noted that the team’s potential for success was doubted at the beginning of the year, as the team is younger than in previous years.

“There was a lot of concern amongst our team and in the mock trial community that we didn’t have as much diversity and talent as we previously had, and people were concerned that this year wasn’t going to be as successful as previous years,” she said.  “So the fact that we’ve had the most successful regional of all time shows that we were able to adapt and move forward and that the program is very strong, it’s not just an individual or two.”

Teleky noted that the team as a whole has showed great depth and improvement, making TMT history by qualifying its C- and D-teams for ORCS.

“That these C-teams could not only be competitive with, but also beat the best teams from other schools speaks volumes about the talent depth of Tufts Mock Trial,” he said. “Everyone in the program worked really hard for the last month to get ready for these tournaments, and it really paid off.”

Sokol said that competing in the second regional tournament after knowing two Tufts teams had already qualified for ORCS made the competition less stressful. She added that the extra few weeks between competitions gave the B-team and D-team more time to prepare.

Wright hopes to qualify both the A- and B-teams for the national tournament during ORCS next month.

“Very few teams even send one team to nationals, so we’re sort of greedy when we want to send two teams,” she said. “I think we’re working under the assumption that our A-team is stacked, but our B-team still has all of the talent that our A-team has. I think it’s definitely a possibility.”

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