WOOSTER, Ohio — The College of Wooster’s Moot Court team exceeded its already high standards for excellence with a remarkable showing in regional competition last month, capturing first place in not one, not two, but three tournaments.
The executive committee of the American Collegiate Moot Court Association (ACMA) changed the rules for regional tournaments this year by eliminating the one that prevented teams from the same school from having to compete against each other in the elimination rounds, explained Mark Weaver, professor of political science and head coach of Wooster’s Moot Court team. “In response to this rule change,” he said, “we decided to enter three different regional tournaments so that Wooster teams would be less likely to compete against one another for the opportunity to go to nationals.”
Wooster hosted in the Midwest Tournament (Nov. 16-17), and also sent participants to the Upper Midwest Tournament at Loras College (Nov. 9-10) and the Great Lakes Tournament at Saginaw Valley State University (Nov. 30-Dec. 1). Not only did Wooster win all three regional championships, but it also came away with the top orator awards in all three tournaments.
Senior Rachel Shonebarger and junior Rachel Myers led the way at the Midwest Tournament, which was sponsored by the Wayne County Bar Association. The two captured first place as a team and finished first and third, respectively, as individuals on the list of Top Orators.
“Our success this year speaks volumes about the quality of our program,” said Shonebarger, a Spanish major from Gahanna, Ohio. “We start weekly practices at the beginning of the semester, and we have a course (Topics in Constitutional Law and Appellate Advocacy) that is a great resource for learning legal writing. Together, the practices and the class help everyone to improve. Also, our coaches, Mark Weaver and John Rudisill, provide great feedback, and that enables Wooster finish among the top programs in the United States each year.”
Also making a strong showing at Wooster were junior Daniel Cohen and senior Christina Polet, who advanced to the semifinals of the team competition and placed fifth, and ninth, respectively, among the Top Orators.
Other noteworthy performances were turned in by junior Alexandra Ford and first-year Benjamin Taylor, who made it to the quarterfinals, as well as sophomores Connor Goulding-Miles and Alana Deluty, and senior Richard Pinkston and junior Pykasu Koube, who made it to the Round of 16. In addition, Ford wound up 10th on the list of Top Orators. Rounding out the Wooster participants were junior Christian Wasner and sophomore Daniel Miller.
At the Upper Midwest Tournament, junior Tyler Hoff and sophomore Luke Tonat teamed up for a first-place finish, while junior Ericka Rickey captured the Individual Orator Award after advancing to the semifinals with first-year Alexander Downs. In addition, sophomore Alexi Ehrlich and senior Amanda Collins performed well and are likely to receive an open bid to nationals based on their scores.
At the Great Lakes Tournament, senior Stephen Perrott and junior Andrea Patton placed first, while juniors Mae Manupipatpong and Eric Petry finished second. Individually, Patton, Manupipatpong, and Perrott finished first, second, and fifth, respectively, as Individual Orators.
"Our team focuses on representing The College of Wooster, our coaches, and each other in a manner that showcases the independent and collaborative thinking skills that Wooster fosters,” said Perrott, a political science major from New Castle, Pa. “Our goals and preparations that are utilized to achieve victory are based on team success and not personal agendas."
Also representing Wooster at Saginaw Valley State were the teams of first-year Savannah Glidewell and sophomore Mallory Kruper, sophomores Jestin Kusch and Jacob Oppler, and first-years Patrick Pickering and Colin Omilanowski.
"It is very rewarding and inspiring to see the level of accomplishment across the range of experience,” said Rudisill. “Our team captains, who have been at this for multiple years now, have led the rest of the team with great skill and example. Our younger team members have followed that lead and demonstrated through their quick progress, that this team will not only be strong this year at nationals, but will continue to be strong on into the future."
Wooster’s top finishers will advance to the American Collegiate Moot Court Association National Tournament at Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach on Jan. 18-19, and Weaver is looking forward to the challenge. “Our momentum was so great coming out of these regional tournaments that I wish we did not have to wait until January to compete in the national tournament,” he said. “Eight of our 14 two-person teams qualified among the top 80 teams in the country, but I think we were even deeper in strength this year because three of our teams were eliminated in regional competition by other Wooster teams.”
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