This weekend was the Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS) for the American Mock Trial Association tournament in White Plains, New York. Tufts sent 2 teams (the maximum permitted per school) to the competition, as a result of our amazing performance (3rd and 4th places) at the Regional competition in Worcester, Massachusetts.
We drove down to Pace Law School on Friday. The trials took place Saturday and Sunday, two trials per day. As with the Regional competition, I was an attorney on Plaintiff and a witness on Defense.
Plaintiff went 0-2 in the first trial, despite it having seemed to have gone extremely well. Defense went 2-0 in the second, leaving us with a 2-2 record by dinner Saturday night. We were all exhausted by the time we got to sit down for our veggie lo mein.
Sunday morning: Plaintiff first. A bummer for me, since my dad was driving out to come see me compete for the first time; he was only going to make the final trial; I was hoping to be an attorney for that. Oh well.
This match was tricky. We nearly ran out of time; the AMTA official literally came to our room to collect the ballots a minute before "All-Loss" (the time at which, had any trial in the tournament not been completed, both teams would automatically lose). Pressured for time, I felt that I had made some mistakes. It didn't put me in the best mood.
Then Dad showed up, which was awesome. I introduced him to people, and we learned that we had somehow won the trial on both ballots; we now had a 4-2 record. Wins could ensure a bid to Nationals, losses probably wouldn't. Ties would be possible.
|Tufts B chats over lunch at Pace Law School|
Our final round pairing was against NYU's B Team. NYU A was the National champion two years ago; we watched videos from their cases to train. Yikes. It was a lot of fun competing against them in the end. As for the results, we would have to get to the awards ceremony.
Our car got a bit lost, so we ended up following my dad, who had the GPS. At the ceremony, they began by announcing witness awards. No one from Tufts placed. No doubt NYU was to blame; before that final round, our witnesses had been some of the best in the room. Compared to NYU, it was a toss-up.
Next came attorney awards. For those who haven't read my TMT posts before, each judge in each trial ranks the top attorneys and witnesses (in his/her opinion). 1st rank is +5, 2nd +4, 3rd +3, 4th +2. A total of four judges will give ranks over the weekend (per case side), so the maximum score (four 1st place ranks) is 20.
They announced that it took 17 ranks to become an All-National Attorney. A Tufts-A junior, Nicholas LoCastro, was named as a recipient. We erupted into applause. As the 18-rank and 19-rank students were listed, I came to understand that I wouldn't be walking away with a personal award in this competition.
How wrong I was. The speaker announced that 5 attorneys had earned perfect ranks: a 1st place every time. For reference, there were 25 teams of 6-12 people in the room. One by one, the 20-rank students were called up. The fourth student was introduced: "On the Plaintiff, from team 1603: Tufts University..." I could not believe it. Me!
|Disbelief; Photo credit: Krista Morris|
The team went wild, chanting "Barrister!" (the nickname Nick has invented for me) as I went up to to claim my award. By this time, they had run out of plaques; they say it will be mailed.
20-ranked at ORCS: All-National. I know people who don't do Mock aren't going to completely comprehend what I'm talking about, but that's really, really freaking awesome. My friends on the team couldn't have been more thrilled, supportive, and amazing about the whole thing. Oh, and apparently, most of them knew. At least the captains, who are allowed to check scores between rounds.
|Tufts Mock Trial at ORCS, March 3 2011|
Overall, it was an amazing weekend. Tufts B will not be advancing; our record was 4-4. Tufts A, with a record of 5-3 (though I think some of those losses were ties) won a bid to Nationals in Des Moines Iowa next month. We wish them the best of luck.
|Trophy; Photo credit: Krista Morris|