Hamilton’s Mock Trial team has had a successful competitive year, but it’s not over yet. The team came in 3rd place last weekend (March 6-8) at the Opening Round Championship (ORCs) at Pennsylvania State University, granting them a bid to the national competition in Cincinnati (April 17-19). Of the eight total ORCs tournaments in the country, Penn State’s is known to be one of the most competitive, hosting teams such as Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Columbia and Tufts, all of which frequently compete at the national level.

Thus it was unavoidable for Hamilton to face tough competition, but by chance it faced some of the toughest teams at the tournament. The first round was against University of Rochester’s B team, which had placed highly at the regional competition in Buffalo (March 6-8). Hamilton won both ballots, meaning that both judges gave more points to Hamilton.

In the second round, Hamilton faced Harvard’s B team. Harvard’s teams are known for having very theatrical witnesses and attorneys, and Hamilton’s team showed the court that they could be just as theatrical. Hamilton won both ballots of this round as well. At this point, their win record was 4-0, and only three other teams in the competition had that same record: Cornell A, Harvard A, and Yale A. Because round pairings are determined based on win records, the team had to face one of these three contenders in the next round.

Hamilton’s third round, and the most stressful, as some team members stated after the trial, was against Harvard’s A team. Harvard A is currently ranked as the best team in the country. Despite the fact that this round was particularly important, as it would likely determine whether or not each team would advance to nationals, both sides remained calm, collected and professional through the entire trial.

In the end, Hamilton and Harvard both won one ballot, effectively tying the round. After the tournament, an anonymous mock trial competitor posted to perjuries.com that “Hamilton taking a ballot from Harvard A [was] astonishing” (posted on perjuries on March 9). This victory was particularly rewarding since it marked the first time this year that Harvard A had not completely won a round.

The team expected the last round to be “power protected,” which is typical at American Mock Trial Association (AMTA)-run tournaments. However, AMTA made changes to this policy last weekend and instead pitted the best teams against each other. This meant that Hamilton went against Yale B in the final round. Hamilton had faced some of Yale’s teams at prior tournaments, and had always split the ballots or lost both of them. Yet in this final round, Hamilton took both ballots, securing its bid to the national tournament with a win-record of 7-1.

In addition to a string of victories at ORCs, some team members were also honored for their individual excellence on the team. Ian Carradine ’15 won an award for his outstanding portrayal of an Irish psychologist. Co-Captain Amber Groves ’15 won an award for being an outstanding attorney. In fact, when she competed for the plaintiff she was ranked as the best attorney by all of the judges, giving her a perfect score.

The other competing team members at this tournament were: Co-Captain Maggie McGuire ’15, Hunter Green ’16, Andrew Fischer ’17, Caroline Reppert ’17, Sam Weckenman ’17, Ryan Bloom ‘18, and Conor O’Shea ’18.

The teams advancing to nationals from Pennsylvania State are (in the order in which they ranked): Cornell University, Harvard University, Hamilton College, Howard University, Yale University, and Tufts University. 

This marks the third time that Hamilton’s Mock Trial team will advance to nationals, and the team is proud to represent Hamilton College at the national competition.

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