Members of Hamilton's Mock Trial teams that competed in Buffalo, N.Y.

Despite a fierce challenge from Team Mother Nature, Hamilton Mock Trial teams prevailed in snowy Buffalo, capturing the regional tournament on Feb. 9 with both its A and B teams winning ballots to advance.

The event was the first in the competitive season, but Hamilton almost didn’t make it. Clinton faced a heavy snowstorm on Feb. 7, which resulted in the College grounding all school vehicles. After Campus Safety concluded that the roads were safe for travel the next morning, the 15 Mock Trial Team members woke up at 3 a.m. on Saturday to make the three-hour journey to the competition.

Regional tournaments give a number of bids to the highest scoring teams, allowing them to advance to the opening round championships (ORCS), the intermediate tournament before the April national championship in Chicago. Due to the hazardous weather conditions, nearby universities including Syracuse and Colgate dropped out of the competition. This reduced the number of available bids to just five.

Hamilton teams faced the University of Rochester and the University of Toronto B first, winning both rounds with large margins ranging from +13 to +25 points on each ballot. After the first round, Hamilton B faced SUNY Buffalo B, continuing the trend of a large-margin win.

Hamilton A faced the fiercely competitive Wesleyan University A. After an exciting round, Hamilton tied one of the ballots and lost the other by a margin of only two points. Hamilton A knew that in order to ensure a bid to ORCS, they could not drop a single ballot in the two next rounds. On Sunday, Hamilton B faced SUNY Buffalo A and SUNY Geneseo B, winning in both rounds and leaving them with a perfect record of 8-0-0. Hamilton A faced the University of Toronto A and the University of Rochester D, taking all four ballots for a record of 6-1-1.

At closing ceremonies, Hamilton B took the first bid, marking the first time in recent history that the College has won its regional tournament. Hamilton A took the third bid just after Wesleyan. Nicholas Garvey ’23 was recognized as an outstanding witness, and Kiley Hartman ’23, Molly Symmonds ’23, and Elise Wilson ’22 were recognized as outstanding attorneys. Hamilton was the only school from the competition to receive multiple bids. 

Preparations for the ORCS competition in Lancaster, Pa., on March 6-8 are already under way as Hamilton expects to face some tough competition for a spot at nationals this year.

Other competing members included co-captains Isabelle Mosbarger ’20 and Ryan Stewart ’21, Grecia Santos ’20, John Rutecki ’22, Miranda Harrigan ’22, Peri Kessler ’22, Brooke Kessler ’22, Thomas Betts ’23, McKinley Abernethy ’23, Cole Kuczek ’23, and Quinn Jones ’23.

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