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2020 TBC Analysis Empty 2020 TBC Analysis

Thu Jun 18, 2020 4:15 pm
Message reputation : 100% (2 votes)
Initial Thoughts:

Steven Becker, Tufts (Second Chair: Bennett Demsky, Coach: Arvind Goday):
Becker comes into this year’s TBC hovering around the middle-of-the pack in terms of awards. While he wasn’t able to try for an All-American this year, Becker has awarded at nearly every tournament he’s been to in the past two years, most notably at last year’s Shutdown Showdown, where he won the Best Defense Middle Attorney award. Becker shines bright on cross-examination, where his incisive style will stand out, especially given the 24 hour preparation window. He combines natural witness control with an ability to adapt responsively to theory mid-round, and is also a good listener—able to hang on to every word of a witness answer and find missteps to capitalize on. His true strength, however, is his knowledge of the rules of evidence: if there’s an expert in this year’s case, look for Becker to have a field day forcing his opponents to lay additional foundation. But while his technical ability will stand out among the field, he is not the most dynamic presenter of the group, and even though we don’t yet know just how the online format will affect competitors who rely primarily on polish and presence, Becker may struggle to outperform his opponents during statements. This is particularly true for the opening statement, which he doesn’t normally do. As second chair, Becker is bringing rising junior Bennett Demsky, who just captained Tufts B to a 6-2 finish at ORCS, winning an All-National attorney award. Demsky and Becker have never been on an attorney bench together, so there may be a bit of a learning curve. But both have proven success to their name, and we expect they’ll figure out how to work in sync. Coaching Becker will be outgoing Tufts Mock Trial President Arvind Goday, an All-American expert witness who has a few attorney awards to his name, most notably at Regionals this year, where he and Becker won awards on the same table. Goday should be able to help in the witness department, where Becker has little experience. The Tufts group has no one-on-one competition experience between the three of them, but as a student-run program that seems to prioritize clever content and outside-the-box theories, look for them to do well on TBC weekend.

Matthew Besman, OSU (Second Chair: Clay Owens, Coach: Maddie Driscoll):
Matthew Besman comes into TBC as one of the most experienced in the field at the top levels of AMTA. Besman has been competing on Ohio State A for three years. While he doesn’t have an insane award count, all of the ones he does have are about as high quality as it gets - including multiple from GAMTI and one from the 2020 GCF. OSU is a system that puts a premium on its competitors taking control of the courtroom with everything they do, and Besman exemplifies that priority. His strongest asset is a powerful cross (primarily of expert witnesses), where he puts together an unstoppable combination of tight knowledge of the facts and dynamic witness control. His closing arguments combine being casual and devastatingly reactive in a way that is reminiscent of Daniel Stern. Because one of Besman’s strengths is presence in the courtroom, it is possible that TBC being online will limit his performance somewhat. But either way, no TBC competitor will want to hear that they are up against Besman. This season, Ohio State A had the same three people make up both their prosecution and defense benches. For his second chair and coach, Besman is bringing the other two with Clay Owens as his second chair and Maddie Driscoll as his coach. Owens and Driscoll are both successful competitors in their own right. Owens has earned multiple awards as both an attorney and witness, including one at the Cincinnati ORCS this year. Driscoll captained the OSU B team that finished 5th in their Nationals division last year and has continued that success into this year, earning an attorney award at Great Chicago Fire. This Ohio State trio knows how to work together and will be a tough one to beat.

Josie Bianchi, Stanford (Second Chair: Elizabeth Grant, Coach: Thom Scher):
As President of Stanford Mock Trial this year, Bianchi helped lead her team to a 6th straight nationals bid. Although she has one of the lower award counts of the bunch, don’t underestimate her. Stanford doesn’t attend as many invites as some other programs, but Bianchi proved she can compete at a high level earning an All-National Attorney award at Geneva in 2019 and an All-Regional Attorney award in 2020. She’s one of the few people who has awarded as both an attorney and a witness which in a competition like this, will serve her well. Some of Bianchi’s strengths include her presence in the courtroom, her volume, and her control of tough witnesses. It will be interesting to see how her strengths translate to the small screen. Bianchi’s second chair will be Elizabeth Grant. Despite only being a sophomore, Grant has already awarded 4 times as an attorney (one more than Bianchi although the total number is the same) including an All-National award at ORCS this year. One strength that Grant brings is that she has been through a very similar process before when she competed in Gladiator in 2017 and placed as a semi-finalist. Speaking of experience, Bianchi will be bringing Thom Scher, her coach at Stanford. Thom is by far the most experienced one-on-one coach out of the group. He has been coaching students from Menlo High School to Gladiator since its inception in 2015, including three final round appearances and two wins (more than any other school). He also coached Jack Seigenthaler to this competition both of the last two years including a third place finish in 2018.

Regina Campbell, Chicago (Second Chair: Henry Hopcraft, Coach: Kevin Solove):
The first of only two returning members from the 2019 TBC, and the only returning TBC award winner, Regina Campbell will have something to prove this year. Last year, Campbell just barely missed the semi-finals, coming in fifth place. Outside of TBC Campbell has one of the highest award counts in the field and the highest All American count. Campbell has been part of a successful Chicago A team for the last three years. As a sophomore she was a part of a power bench that took home three All-Americans and a tenth place finish. In other words, with many of the competitors on this list we see a lower award count because of competition from All Star competitors, but Campbell managed to get her high award count and her All-American even with two other All-Americans on her team. Last year she led Chicago A to a 3rd place division finish including an impressive set of double digit margins over BC, Emory, and Northwestern, falling short only against the eventual division winner, Rhodes. She has returned to lead Chicago to another successful season, which we expect would have continued into NCT if they had had the chance. Instead it culminated with her victory in the online competition, one which speaks well of her ability to translate her performance to the scene. Campbell tends to have a casual but magnetic performance style, as we saw in the online competition. Expect eyes to be glued to the scene when she is presenting. Campbell is also adaptive and willing to throw out large chunks of her planned material and replace it with new content that ridicules her opponent’s theory. Do not make a mistake in front of Campbell because she will catch it and she will use it against you in closing. As second chair, she is bringing her teammate Henry Hopcraft. Hopcraft brings some more one-on-one experience to this group, having competed in Gladiator in high school. As was recently noted on the Mock Review, Chicago’s A team was a very small and tight knit group, which leads us to believe that these two have the requisite chemistry to make the best use of their experience. As coach, they are bringing Kevin Solove. A recent graduate of UChicago Law, Solove competed with the University of Florida LitiGators in undergrad. During law school, Solove helped coach the UChicago undergraduate team. This coaching choice is a change from Campbell’s coach last year, so we will be curious to see if having changed coaches will make a difference for how Campbell finishes.

Sydney Gaskins, UMBC (Second Chair: Ethan Hudson, Coach: Ben Garmoe):
Sydney Gaskins is the other of the two returning members from last year’s star studded TBC field, and we think her chances this year are excellent. Last year she wound up taking the best witness award. This is significant because Gaskins is primarily thought of as a strong attorney as that’s what she competes at during the main season. If anything, Gaskins’ attorney record is even stronger this year than last year. She has routinely pulled in 20 rank awards, often on both sides of the case and rarely goes home with fewer than 18. She closed out a strong invite season with an award at GCF and then managed to double award at both regionals and ORCS with 19 on both sides at regionals and a perfect 20 on both sides at ORCS. In the courtroom Gaskins comes off as genuine, off the cuff, and casual even when she is working off scripts. She has a dynamic presence and leaves nobody in doubt who is the most exciting person in the courtroom. Add that to Gaskins’s demonstrated success as a TBC witness and we think she is set up to do very well. Our biggest worry is that Gaskins may be one of the people who the transition from courtroom to zoom hurts the most given her greatest strength by far is her presentation abilities. But if she can effectively transition from live presence to virtual presence, she will be a force to be reckoned with. As second chair, Gaskins will bring outgoing UMBC mock trial president, Ethan Hudson. The double opener to Gaskins’ double closer, Hudson’s strengths are content and evidentiary concerns. Hudson and Gaskins have competed together ever since their high school mock trial years, including captaining UMBC A to two Nationals bids. As coach, just like last year, Gaskins will be bringing Ben Garmoe, of podcast fame. Garmoe has coached UMBC to increasing levels of success over the past three years and they were highly successful together at last year’s TBC, so we know that this is a good pairing and that the UMBC contingent will do well.

Bri Goodchild, Minnesota (Second Chair: Keane Nowlan, Coach: Caleb Brady):
Goodchild is one of just three All-American attorneys entering the Trial By Combat field, and she’s also the most highly awarded newcomer. As a member of Minnesota A, she’s had two NCT appearances over the last two years, among a number of strong showings at invites, including a 5-3 finish at Ramblin’ Wreck, and a 5-2-1 finish at Yale. Though many of her awards come from non-competitive invites, Goodchild should not be underestimated. She’s demonstrated that she can succeed at high levels of competition, as evidenced by an All-American at the 2019 NCT, and picking up three awards between Yale’s invite and the Cedar Rapids ORCS this year. In the courtroom, Goodchild is slow, deliberate, and polished. She takes a very common-sense approach to many of her arguments, and is adept at nitpicking the details of her competitors’ theories for flaws. This is a strength that could serve her well, but could also derail her performance by causing her to lose sight of bigger picture arguments, especially in a competition format that will place a high value on content. Goodchild is also very straightforward and less flashy than many others in the field - this means that she could struggle to stand out against more dynamic competitors. As second chair, Goodchild will be bringing with her rising senior Keane Nowlan. Nowlan has had a successful season on Minnesota A this year, picking up attorney awards at Ramblin’ Wreck, the Lawrence regional, and the Cedar Rapids ORCS. He has also awarded multiple times as a witness, which should help the Minnesota cohort on TBC weekend. As coach, Goodchild will be bringing former Minnesota competitor and current coach Caleb Brady. During his career with Minnesota, Brady picked up competitive attorney awards at the Geneva ORCS, and Ramblin Wreck. Brady also made NCT appearances in both 2018 and 2019. This Minnesota group will bring some Midwestern calm to the TBC field, and we are interested to see how that translates to Zoom.

Julia Greve, Cincinnati (Second Chair: Kevin Johnson, Coach: Stephen Johnson):
Though it’s her first year competing in Trial By Combat, Greve is one of just three competitors in this field who has experienced the competition before. Last year, she coached Cincinnati’s Stephen Johnson to the final round, where he became the 2019 TBC Champion. Greve’s familiarity and experience with the 24-hour window of preparation is sure to provide her with an advantage that very few competitors in this field have. Greve has one NCT appearance to her name, and she has picked up seven awards this year, double-awarding as an attorney at three tournaments. As for style, she is very clean and focused. Her presentation is measured and methodical, which means that she rarely makes mistakes. Greve’s biggest strength is her impressive command of evidence - she relies heavily on objections, and her technical ability is sure to throw off many of her competitors. However, she is not one of the more dynamic presenters of the group, which means that she may struggle to stand out against competitors with flashier and more animated styles, and she has occasionally shown a tendency towards overextending against top competitors in the past. Greve also has very limited witness experience, and her precise and deliberate style may make it more difficult to adapt to witnessing in such a short time frame. This is especially true considering that Cincinnati tends to rely heavily on preparation and rarely deviates from their scripts. As her second chair, Greve will take Kevin Johnson. Johnson served as one of her teammates on Cincinnati A this year. Although he has no awards of his own, he will, presumably, be a familiar presence that she can rely on. As coach, Greve will be bringing reigning Trial By Combat champion Stephen Johnson. Johnson has a whopping 24 awards to his name, including an All-American he received as the highest ranking attorney at the 2019 NCT. Having worked with her at last year’s Trial By Combat, we expect that this trio will be able to hit the ground running, and their combined experience in this competition will be advantageous in a field with so few returners.

Sam Gross, Yale (Second Chair: Kynzie Clark, Coach: Elizabeth Bays):
Sam Gross is closing off his four year Yale Mock Trial career with a TBC appearance. Across those four years, Gross has had one of the weirdest but also most successful paths through mock trial we can think of. In his first year, Gross competed on Yale B, which earned 5th place in its NCT division (the highest B team placement that year, and at the time, one of the more successful B team finishes ever). But then Gross and Yale B topped that the following year, where Gross coached Yale B to the national final round, which is only the second time in recent memory that a B team has made the final. This also led to Gross being the youngest ever Reynoldson award winner. His junior year, Gross competed on both the team that won Shutdown Showdown (Gross earning an individual award) as well as the Yale team that won their division at NCT. Gross’ relatively low award count may cause some people to pause, but for years he has competed with All-Americans like Elizabeth Bays, Justin Abbasi, and Andy Parker. In addition, he is one of only four competitors to award as an attorney at ORCS twice, and, impressively, he got both of those awards as a middle attorney. Gross’ track record of team success is second to none on this list. In the courtroom, Gross is actually one of the more versatile competitors in this field. He can pull off a laid back and likable demeanor just as well as he can school the other player on evidence and rip their direct apart. He’s personable, charming, and will be a dangerous person to play. Our biggest worry with Gross is that he lacks some of the statement experience held by others in this field. As his second chair, Gross will bring Kynzie Clark, a second year student at Yale who competed at NCT with Gross last year and is the incoming president of Yale Mock Trial. Clark earned several witness awards last year which may help to round out that team, and picked up an attorney award at Black Squirrel this year. As coach, Gross will be bringing two-time TBC competitor Elizabeth Bays. Bays comes into this field as one of the coaches (along with Scher and Faulconer) with the highest amount of one-on-one experience, having competed both at TBC and Gladiator. Yale Mock Trial, and Bays in particular, are known for creative case theories and a performative and entertaining style of mock trial. And on a 24 hour timeframe, creativity and intelligence are at a premium. We expect this cohort to be a strong one when TBC rolls around.

Richard Madden, Rhodes (Second Chair: Jeena Piriano, Coach: Anna Eldridge):
For those who saw Matthew Broussard open at last year’s NCT Final Round, Richard Madden’s name may come as a bit of a surprise as the top award winner for Rhodes this year. However, this speaks more to the prowess of Madden (and the overall strength of the Rhodes A team that won GAMTI) than anything else. Madden comes to Trial By Combat after a year in which he awarded at every single tournament he attended, including GAMTI and GCF, and a style that goes beyond the consistent hard-nosed competence we have come to expect from all Rhodes attorneys. Despite incorporating the aggressive style Rhodes is known for, Madden’s style is remarkably calm, exuding control in the courtroom and commanding the respect of the jury without appearing heavy-handed as other Rhodes attorneys sometimes do. This makes Madden a truly formidable competitor at TBC: Madden won’t make mistakes, but he has an understated dynamism that may set him apart in a group in which competence is a given. He does have some weaknesses though. He isn’t going to try anything wild to put his opponents on their back foot, and he’s not going to get an edge with objections. This means that ultimately Madden will be depending on a lot of close ballots if he is to break through to the final round. As second chair, Madden is bringing fellow competitor Jeena Piriano. Piriano is well-awarded in her own right - competing on the Rhodes team that won GAMTI, as well as earning an attorney award at Great Chicago Fire (on the same side as Madden) as part of Rhodes’ impressive three attorney awards at a single tournament. As coach, they are bringing longtime Rhodes coach Anna Eldridge. Eldridge competed for Rhodes mock trial as an undergrad, including coming very close to winning a national championship of her own in 2001. Eldridge has been a driving force behind Rhodes remaining a powerhouse on the national AMTA stage. This cohort as a whole lacks one-on-one experience. The question for Rhodes is if this short turnaround will permit them to bring the signature Rhodes style to the Zoom courtrooms.

Sonali Mehta, Duke (Second Chair: Seva Castleberry, Coach: Eric Roytman):
Sonali Mehta enters the field as one of the only people with proven success in an online format, coming off of her impressive win in UCLA’s online opening competition. Mehta has been one of the stalwarts of Duke A during the past couple of years. Mehta’s rise onto Duke A coincided with Duke’s return to Nationals. An opener by trade, Mehta has also closed and witnessed sporadically through her time as a Blue Devil, making her one of the most dynamic and well rounded competitors in this field. In the courtroom, Mehta combines clear and compelling presentation with a rock solid knowledge of the rules of evidence. Her cross examinations will go to the mat in order to get the answer she wants from the witness. She’s unique in her ability to not get swallowed by the raw presence of the Gaskins and Campbells of the world while still being clean and content driven a la Peale and Gross. As second chair, Mehta is bringing incoming Duke president Seva Castleberry. Castleberry has competed primarily as a witness during his time at Duke, which will bring a different dimension to this attorney heavy group. As her coach, Mehta will be bringing former TBC competitor and current Duke coach, Eric Roytman. Roytman was the captain of Ohio State and its opener for several years. He earned two All-Americans in 2018 and 2019. Since then he has been coaching Duke while attending law school. Roytman specializes in smooth, clear writing, which should be helpful for a competitor who admits to relying on heavily memorized rhetoric. We suspect that this Duke group will clean up on opening checkmarks and be tough to beat on all of the other ones as well.

Elias Neibart, Emory (Second Chair: John Merle, Coach: Riya Lakkaraju):
Neibart is entering the Trial By Combat field after a long streak of success. As a four-year member of Emory A, he’s had two top NCT finishes, including a 6th place finish in his division last year. This year, he’s captained Emory to an honorable mention at GAMTI, and a 7-1 finish at Ramblin’ Wreck. Moreover, Neibart has undoubtedly proven that he excels at high levels of competition - he’s picked up awards at both GAMTI and Wreck this year, the Decatur ORCS in 2019, and most recently, he competed in the championship round of UCLA’s online closing competition. When in the courtroom, Neibart’s greatest assets are his undeniable confidence and charisma. Neibart’s dynamism, and his engaging cross-examinations with highly adaptive witness control are sure to make him a standout in this year’s field. Even through heavy improvisation, Neibart is always able to remain extremely polished - this makes him a very dangerous opponent, particularly in this year’s field. But his greatest strength lies in his extremely persuasive and compelling closing arguments. He’s unique in his ability to present with a highly expansive range, switching easily through multiple styles, and he never fails to impress with a commanding presence. However, Neibart is polarizing on objections - he is strong on responses, but rarely objects himself, which could be a disadvantage with judges who prefer objection-heavy trials. He also has little witness experience, which could make a 24-hour window more challenging, especially when lacking any one-on-one competition experience. For his second-chair, Neibart will be taking Emory Mock Trial President and All-American attorney John Merle. Merle himself has numerous attorney awards to his name, multiple top NCT finishes, and has competed alongside Neibart on Emory A for the past three years, sharing a bench for the last two. As coach, Neibart is bringing rising junior Riya Lakkaraju. As a freshman, Lakkaraju competed on the Emory B team that earned a bid to Nationals last year. This year Lakkaraju pulled two attorney awards in the fall and then competed on Emory A this spring. This trio made up both prosecution and defense benches on Emory A this year, and their experience working so closely together will be an asset on TBC weekend. And so far as we can tell, this group is the only one who has made the decision to have the younger competitor act as the coach and the older act as the second chair. This gives an advantage to the competitors who choose to bring two students with them (instead of a coach and student) because it allows the more experienced of the two to communicate with the TBC advocate during the rounds.

Daniel Peale, UVA (Second Chair: James Orr, Coach: Ryan Faulconer):
Peale has been the captain of UVA A for three years now, leading them to two second place division finishes (both times barely missing the final) at NCT, a number of strong invite wins, and most recently a win over Tufts in the GCF final. In his freshman year, Peale also competed for a UVA B team that took seventh in their NCT division. Peale has consistently been successful at the top level, particularly when in leadership. In the same way as some others on this list, Peale’s low award count can be attributed in part to the sheer strength of his teammates (like former TBC competitors Sabrina Grandhi and Deniz Tunceli). Peale has a classic UVA style presentationally. He is slow, likable, polished, not particularly aggressive, and unlikely to make obvious mistakes. He tends to be a bit more technical and evidence-heavy than other UVA attorneys in recent years, which may give him an edge in throwing off other competitors and allowing the UVA polish to shine. On the other hand, Peale is not the flashiest of attorneys and his strengths are designed to fit well in a team environment where they serve as a counterbalance to flashier roles, so we are curious to see how that translates to an individual competition. For his second chair, Peale will be taking James Orr, a sophomore competitor who just helped lead UVA B to an NCT Bid. Orr has also done pretty well at the awards this year, particularly in the AMTA season, with a double award at regionals and an award at ORCS, as well as being the only non-senior to make it all the way to the semifinals of the online closing competition. Their coach will be Ryan Faulconer, a long time coach at UVA. Faulconer comes in as one of the most successful mock trial coaches in the entire country. He has coached UVA to all three of their NCT championships and all four of their NCT finals. This isn’t his first time doing one-on-one tournaments either. Faulconer has coached Top Gun three times, making the final all three, and winning once. He himself won three All Americans and thirty total awards when he competed for Kansas in college. We think that the addition of the second chair as well as a format that prioritizes clean and compelling content means that this Virginia cohort will put up a strong showing.

Mashell Rahimzadeh, Columbia (Second Chair: Alexandra Fairna, Coach: Andrew Yablonsky):
Rahimzadeh started out her career as a witness and that is still largely where her recognition lies. In her very first year of competition she took an All-American as a witness at the 2017 NCT, and for the next three years, that’s where she took most of her awards including at some very top tournaments. She will, therefore, have an edge in the witnessing side of this competition over other more attorney based competitors, particularly if Bernstein releases a case with character witnesses on which she can use her signature accent and character. Rahimzadeh has pretty consistently been attorneying on one side of the case over the last three years, but this year she started awarding for it leading to an impressive one-year awards streak of Mumbo Jumbo, Yale invite, and GCF. As an attorney Rahimzadeh is polished and controlled, and won’t stop until she gets the “yes” she’s looking for. This last trait is one which may serve her extremely well if it works, but can also lead her to chase rabbit holes, the same flaw that brought down her former co-counsel in the final two years ago. For her second chair and coach, Mashell is taking two of her current teammates, Alexandra Farina and A.J. Yablonsky. Farina is a junior and the incoming president of Columbia Mock Trial. On her own she has taken a number of awards over the years and is a self described “rabid dog” in the courtroom. A.J. has been closing on Columbia A for a while and captained it this year to what was (until it was abruptly cut off), a fairly successful season. All three of these competitors were on the same, newly student run, team this year which should give them a certain amount of facility in working together right off the bat.

Taylor Rich, Florida State University (Second Chair: Abby Branham, Coach: Julie Howard):
Rich is entering the Trial By Combat field in the lower half in terms of awards, but she’s coming off a strong season. As a member of FSU A, she’s been a part of a number of strong invite finishes - this includes a 7-1 finish at Capital City, a 5-2-1 finish at Classic City, and a 7-1 finish at Ramblin’ Wreck. Rich has received a number of competitive awards, including attorney awards at Ramblin’ Wreck, Classic City, the 2019 Decatur ORCS, and most recently, she made it to the playoffs of UCLA’s online closing competition. She’s also awarded as a witness, which will be advantageous in a field where witness experience is very limited. As for style, Rich is straightforward, clean, and concise. Given this year’s online format, there’s a lot more room for uncertainty in how performances will be received, which means that Rich’s rarely polarizing style could benefit her. However, Rich is the only competitor in the field who hasn’t made an NCT appearance, and most of her awards come from non-competitive invites, so we have yet to see how she will perform in a competitive field where every round will be a challenge. Rich also tends to be very heavily scripted, so it will be interesting to see how she is able to adapt to a 24-hour prep period, as well as competitors with more off-the-cuff styles, particularly given that she has never had less than 7 months to prep a case. As her second chair Rich is bringing Abby Branham. Branham is one of the handful of people in this field with serious one-on-one experience. Branham won Gladiator (the high school version of those tournaments) just last year playing the same case we all saw in the online competition. She also was one of our top competitors this year with awards at both GOT and Ramblin’ Wreck in her very first year in collegiate mock. As with many other competitors on this list, Rich has opted to bring one of her teammates as coach. ¬†She is bringing fellow FSU A senior, Julie Howard, who also awarded this year at GOT and picked up a smattering of other awards throughout her career.

Harsha Sridhar, Georgia Tech (Second Chair: Pranav Gandham, Coach: Will Warihay):
Sridhar is probably one of the most balanced competitors in this year’s TBC field. He has nearly as many witness as attorney awards, and he’s one of just two All-American witnesses in the field after awarding at the 2019 NCT. As a member of Tech A, Sridhar has been a part of two strong NCT finishes, including an honorable mention in 2018, and an 8th place finish last year. He’s also been a part of multiple impressive invite finishes, most notably placing 5th at GAMTI this year. Awards-wise, Sridhar is one of just two competitors who has awarded multiple times as a witness, which should certainly serve him well this year. Sridhar does fall on the lower end of the spectrum of attorney awards - but it’s worth noting that for a large part of his career on Tech A, Sridhar has shared a bench with strong teammates like two-time TBC competitor Sarah Stebbins, who has picked up 30 awards herself. In the courtroom, Sridhar is relatively consistent and straightforward. He follows a more scripted approach, but is still able to appear conversational when needed. It will certainly be interesting to see how he adapts to a shorter prep period which may require more off-the-cuff material. Sridhar also comes off as very likable, and rarely appears overly aggressive or harsh. He is unlikely to be received as polarizing, which could certainly work to his advantage given the uncertainty surrounding this year’s format. As second chair, Sridhar is bringing his teammate, Pranav Gandham. Most well known for popularizing the phrase “big if true” on Mock Trial Confessions, Gandham captained the GT B team that earned a bid to Nationals last year, and captained GT A this year. As his coach, Sridhar is bringing Will Warihay, the ex-president of AMTA. Warihay is entering his third year coaching TBC. The first two years he coached Sarah Stebbins to a winning record each time. We expect this experience will serve him well.

Sasha Yusuf, UC Irvine (Second Chair: Joseph Colarian , Coach: Dev Madeka):
One of two competitors representing California, Sasha Yusuf comes into TBC after having led his team to a 7-1 1st place finish at the toughest ORCs this year. Although Yusuf falls mid range for award counts, he’s shown that he can win awards when they matter. Two of them come from the 2018 and 2019 Santa Monica ORCS. This makes him one of only 4 competitors that have awarded at two or more ORCs as an attorney. Style wise, Yusuf is very theatrical. He uses big hand gestures, has big voice inflections, and moves around a fair amount. In the courtroom these are all very captivating, but how well this will translate to the online competition still remains to be clear. He was far more restrained in movement than usual in his online competition video, and this may carry over to TBC. Theory and script might end up being more important than presentation and if that’s the case, then his theatrical performance might not be as impactful as he would like. Yusuf brings two teammates as his team although one is current and one is former. His second chair will be current teammate Joseph Colarian. Colarian has racked up awards left and right this year. This year alone, he earned four attorney and a witness award including both an all-national award and 20 rank all-regional award. His coach will be former Irvine competitor Dev Madeka who made a name for himself as an All-American Witness at the 2018 nationals. The combination of the three is interesting because both Colorian and Madeka have more awards and more witness experience than Yusuf. Both competitors bring their own success, which can either end up being a positive or a negative for this group.

Individual Award Breakdown
When possible, these numbers were taken from the website of each competitors’ respective team. When these records were unavailable, we used publicly-available AMTA tab summaries. If we missed any awards, we invite any competitor to message us or post below with a list of individual awards and we will update the table.

CompetitorCareer AwardsAttorneyWitnessAll American
Steven Becker8800
Matthew Besman7700
Josie Bianchi4310
Regina Campbell19*^1802
Sydney Gaskins21^201**1
Bri Goodchild15^1501
Julia Greve101000
Sam Gross5500
Richard Madden8800
Sonali Mehta8*610
Elias Neibart101000
Dan Peale4310
Mashell Rahimzadeh133101
Taylor Rich7610
Harsha Sridhar8531
Sasha Yusuf101000

*In addition to their attorney and witness awards, Mehta and Campbell won the online opening and closing competition respectively so we have added an additional award to their total number
** In addition to her attorney awards, Gaskins won “Best Witness” at the 2019 TBC so we have added that as a witness award.
^This indicates that they awarded at the 2020 ORCS. Given some competitors weren’t able to compete at ORCS, we thought it was important to indicate.
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