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2019 Regionals Analysis Week 1 Empty 2019 Regionals Analysis Week 1

Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:09 pm
Please share your own thoughts below. This is intended to start a discussion, if you have seen a team and you think we are over or under valuing them let us know! Good luck with regionals! If you aren't on here, then prove us wrong! If you made our list, then prove us right! - MockAnalysisIsMyDrug

Cincinnati: (22 teams) ‘not actually easy' (MAIMD Ranking 3/28)
- 3 teams in top 100, 6 in top 200

First in:
Miami A
Miami B
Xavier A

Dayton A
Cincinnati B
Xavier B

Initial Thoughts:
With just two nationals returners in Miami A and Xavier A, at first glance this region could be seen as two easy bids to ORCS for our defending national champions, Miami University. But while we do think that Miami will take two bids here, this isn’t just a free regional for the defending champions. Xavier University is returning 9/10 of the competitors from their Nationals roster last year, including standout attorney Christina Peterman (5 awards last year) and witness Ryan Kupkic (2 awards).Combined with other ORCS returners like Dayton A, Cincinnati B, and IUPUI, the top of this field is no joke when compared to your average regional.

We’ve also yet to see how Miami will recover from losing all of their competing A team to graduation - they’ve been completely unstacked so far this fall and after last year, when neither Miami B nor C made it out of Regionals, it wouldn’t completely shock us to see the Redhawks only get one bid out of Cincinnati. The bottom of this field is sufficiently weak that we still expect them to take two bids, but stranger things have happened.

We’d also like to shout out Purdue University, who just formed a team this year and will be competing at Regionals for the first time! Best of luck to the Boilermakers.

Team to watch:
Dayton A: Dayton returns to the AMTA season after going 4-4 at the Hamilton ORCS last year, hungry to do even better and break to Nationals in Philadelphia. Returning strong competitors like Bryan Borodkin (20 ranks at Spartan and 18 at Hamilton ORCS), we’re looking for Dayton to improve on their strong performance from a year ago. We don’t know how involved Dan Haughey remains in the actual coaching of the program, but an experienced AMTA board member like that can’t hurt their chances.

Claremont: (31 teams) ''West Coast WrestleMania” (MAIMD Ranking 13/28)
- 5 teams in top 100, 7 in top 200

First in:
UC Berkeley B

Scripps A
Cal Poly SLO A
Cal Poly Pomona A
Pomona B

Initial Thoughts:
While not the most top-heavy regional in the country, the number of ORCS-level programs stuffed into this regional means that at least some teams who expect to make it out of Claremont with a bid will leave disappointed. The number of invitational tournaments in California, combined with the cost of flying to out-of-state tournaments, also means that these teams have been seeing each other compete all year. This level of pre-scouting makes this regional wildly unpredictable, as last year’s results reminded us. Irvine rocketed back into relevance, while 2017 NCT competitors Cal Poly SLO struggled at regionals. UC Irvine, the self-proclaimed Third Best Team in the Nation, comes into Claremont looking to prove that their performance last year was no fluke. UCI’s depth will be put to the test with a lot of turnover on the A team bench. Meanwhile, Arizona State, winners of UCSD’s Wlodarczyk Invitational, look to repeat the performance against a similar set of opponents. And as always, we can expect all 5 UCLA teams to compete for bids. UCLA D was the “worst” performing UCLA team last year by UCLA’s standards and still qualified out of regionals.

Here, more than elsewhere, bracket luck plays a large role in determining who advances. After all, Claremont is the largest regional on the West Coast and the 3rd largest in the country. While there are a lot of solid teams here, there are many more unranked teams. Only 29% of the teams here are ranked, the 3rd lowest in the country. This means that there is a larger proportion of teams here who haven’t won a bid in the last 3 years compared to your average regional. The difference between drawing UCLA and Rio Hondo can change everything.

This regional also has one new team, Orange Coast College. Good luck to the Pirates!

Team to Watch:
Cal Poly SLO: The prodigious duo that was Deeksha Kohli and Zackery Michaelson culminated into a 2017 Nationals run that would be the first in Cal Poly’s history. Last year, upon their graduation, SLO A suffered quite the underwhelming season that would eventually end with a disappointing 4-4 regional finish. This year however, bodes well for the Mustangs of the West. Though SLO A only has one returning attorney, Raul Garcia, rumors indicate that their program may have obtained a few top freshmen recruits this year. Combine this with virtually the same witness power that got them to Nationals in the first place, and you get a team that can pack a punch. Judging by their invitational season alone thus far, there don’t appear to be any notable tournament finishes other than a 6-2 5th place finish at UCSB so we may not want to start holding our breaths just yet. But if there’s a year for Cal Poly SLO to return to the ORCS scene as an actual contender once again, this is the year.

Columbia: (23 teams) ‘How deep do they go’ (MAIMD Ranking 25/28)
- 4 teams in top 100, 6 in top 200

First in:
Furman A
Duke A
Georgia A
Georgia B

South Carolina B
Elon A
Florida C
Florida D
Emory C
Furman D
Duke B

Initial Thoughts:
This tournament will be a true test of how strong some of the top southern program depth is. Florida, Emory, and Furman all have C/D teams at this tournament. Ordinarily these are teams that are going to be possibly stealing a bid, but in a region with Furman, Duke, and UGA’s A teams it seems like that maybe a little harder for them! This is a deceptive region that may look easy since a lot of the strength is in C teams that are inherently unranked. Of the top teams, Furman has looked very strong so far this year, finishing second at Colonial Classic (where they went 3-3 combined against both UVA teams). UGA and Duke have something of a rivalry as they eliminated each other from making Nationals last year at their ORCS. As teams that normally expect to make Nationals, they definitely have something to prove this year.

The new teams at this Regional are the University of South Carolina, Upstate A and B. Good luck to the Spartans!

Team to watch:
Georgia A: For a long time, UGA was a perennial powerhouse in AMTA - mentioned in the same breath as the Miamis and Rhodes of the world. We aren’t ready to say that they aren’t a powerhouse anymore, but after two consecutive years of not qualifying out of ORCS, UGA definitely is not in that top tier of programs anymore. But we also know that the Bulldogs will be out to prove us wrong here. Caroline Pearson returns as the only remaining member from the last UGA team to make Nationals and other strong competitors like Margaret Shin and Dorothy Rau bring critical aspects to the team as well. We expect UGA to push two teams through this Regional and get back to what has been the bane of their existence recently - ORCS.

Dallas: (24 teams) ‘The Rhodes Playground’ (MAIMD Ranking 28/28)
- 2 teams in top 100, 3 in top 200

First in:
Rhodes A
Baylor A
Rhodes C
Louisiana, Monroe A

Texas, Dallas B
Hendrix A
Texas A&M A

Initial Thoughts:
This tournament bears the distinction of being the easiest on every single metric that we could throw at it. It is completely dominated by a couple of particularly strong teams but after that there is a huge drop off in term of past performance. Rhodes A leads the pack as the only team in the bunch to have made nationals last year. We suspect that this year, the interesting question with Rhodes will not be whether they get a bid but whether they go 8-0 and how high of a PD they can rack up while they are at it. They are, of course joined by their C team who, while unranked because they are a C team, should not be counted out. Rhodes is another program that you can expect to pick up bids with all or nearly all of their teams. Joining Rhodes at the top of the pack will be Baylor who have been to nationals off and on in the past few years and are a staple of the Texas regionals. They are also joined by Louisiana, Monroe, who, while they haven’t made nationals any time in recent memory have been mid-level at ORCS the last few years.

Behind this top cluster is a group of team all of whom have made ORCS at least once in the past few years but have been inconsistent with it and then a large number of unranked teams. All of these teams should be hoping that the relative ease of this regional will boost them to the level where they can capture a bid. In a regional like this, however, one of the major determining factors will be who hits whom. It will be entirely possible to glide through this tournament without hitting any top ranked teams, and teams that do that will have a much better chance than those who have to face Baylor or one of the Rhodes teams.

We also wish good luck to the Eagles of Oklahoma Christian University who will be competing for the first time in this region.

Team to Watch:
Louisiana, Monroe: Amid a pool of top national programs and programs that only sometimes make it out of regionals. Louisiana, Monroe stands out as the only team here that has not made it to Nationals but consistently makes it out of regionals. In the current pool, they should feel confident about continuing their regionals streak. So far this season we only have one tab summary appearance from them at the Mid South invitational. Their A team appears to have had a skay performance at 2-6, but this was after a schedule that involved playing two different programs that made nationals last year. Their B team pulled off a 5-3 record Indicating that their program as a whole still have what it takes to make it to ORCS.

State College: (24 teams) ‘Cornellumbia Takeover’ (MAIMD Ranking: 20/28)
- 3 teams in top 100, 5 in top 200

First in:
Cornell A
Columbia A
Cornell B
Columbia B

Bucknell A
Penn State C
Ithaca A

Initial Thoughts:
We naively will say that this region is fairly predictable. Cornell and Columbia are at the top without much of anyone around them. While in past years it may have been Columbia who was top dog, it is certainly Cornell this year. Cornell has shown a lot of depth the past few years, having two teams do as well at nationals as they did proves Cornell to be quite a formidable opponent. UMBC has also shown for the last few years that they are a team with a lot of depth. As long as they avoid Cornell and Columbia, UMBC should have no problem getting out of this regional. Penn State and NYU have some of their lower teams here and they should be feeling pretty good about themselves, this regional shouldn’t be too tough for them either. This is a regional that will be all about avoiding those programs. Ithaca and Bucknell have had their moments through the years and they certainly have the potential to make a run if they have the right schedule.

This region has two new programs from Juniata College and Elmira. Good luck to the Eagles of both colleges (who happen to share a mascot)!

Team to watch:
Columbia University has struck fear into the hearts of many for the past few years. But last year despite having Trial by Combat finalist, Rachel Sommers, they still didn’t manage to make it to Nationals. Between losing Sommers and their long time coach Mia Eisner-Grynberg, Columbia has a tall hill to climb this year. They should be counting their lucky stars with this draw of regionals which should be very doable for both their A and their B. Their B team did fairly well last year, so there is definitely still hope for them, and their early showings were looking quite strong. Having teams go 6-2 and 5-2-1 at their own invitational, CUBAIT, and 5-3 and 4-3-1 at Toro. These were deceptive results though. While impressive, Columbia’s teams have dropped surprising ballots to Maryland College Park and a whole round against GW, but this is us being nitpicky. Columbia should have no problem making it out of regionals with both teams. We definitely have our eye on Columbia as a team with something to prove here. They have split with Cornell a couple times already, but regionals will be crunch time to show that they belong as one of the top teams in Mock Trial.

Topeka: (23 teams) ‘Purgatory’ (MAIMD Ranking 10/28)
- 4 teams in top 100, 8 in top 200

First in:
Washington University St. Louis A
Iowa A
Cornell College A
Loyola, Chicago A

Missouri A
South Dakota A
Iowa B
Grinnell A
Loyola, Chicago B
Cornell College B

Initial Thoughts:
This is one of the few regionals that doesn’t have any top 25 teams or any teams that almost always make nationals (although both Washington University St. Louis A and Iowa A made it last year). But what it lacks in teams at the top, it makes up for with teams in the middle (hence the extra large bubble). This regional is the only regional where over half of the teams are ranked. This means that unless you are one of the top two or three teams here, if you want a bid you should expect almost every round to be well fought. There will be very few “free” rounds for teams who want to make it out. This is also likely to result in a lot of teams disappointed this year. Unlike many regionals where every team that got a bid last year could make it out, at least one team from this regional who earned a bid last year will be going home without one.

The teams at the top of this regional can be clustered into a couple of categories. A the top, we have our nationals returners: Iowa and Washington - St. Louis. These teams should be fairly sure of getting bids. Next we have a cluster of schools who didn’t quite make nationals but have done consistently well at ORCS in recent years : Cornell College A and Loyola, Chicago A. Then we have teams that usually make it to ORCS but have had somewhat patchy records: Missouri A, South Dakota A, Grinnell A. And, finally we have the B teams who by their nature are prone to patchy records and can be a bit unpredictable depending on graduation rates: Iowa B, Loyola, Chicago B, Cornell College B

Team to watch:
Loyola, Chicago: Loyola has managed an impressive feat of having exactly the same record at all of the last three year’s ORCS: 4-4. And before that they went 4.5-3.5 in 2015 and 4-4 in 2014. So they are nothing if not consistent. This year, they will presumably be hoping to break that pattern and take a step up to the nationals level (where they haven’t been since 2013). So far however, their invitational performance looks an awful lot like their ORCS performance at mid level invites with a 5-3 record at ISU, 3.5-4.5 at Red Cedar and they struggled at the one top invite they attended with a 1-7 record at Cornshucker. So Loyola will need to step up their game if they want to compete at the very top, but they seem well equipped with the consistency to make it through regionals in style.

Seattle: (24 teams) ‘Out of the frying pan’ (MAIMD Ranking 26/28)
- 2 teams in top 100, 8 in top 200

First in:
Stanford A
Washington A
Chemeketa A
Gonzaga A

Portland A
Gonzaga B
Washington B
Oregon State A

Initial Thoughts:
Last year, UC Berkeley breezed through the Seattle regional with a dominating 1st and 2nd-place performance. So when AMTA released this season’s regional assignments, schools across the Pacific Northwest probably breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing that Berkley would not be returning. Any relief, however, would have been immediately extinguished after reading the terrifying words “Stanford A”. Now that coach Thom Scher has moved on from being the best high school mock trial coach in California, Stanford is going to be the team to beat in Seattle. Close behind comes Washington, who has advanced to ORCS from the PNW regional for as far back as AMTA tab summaries can show. After Stanford and Washington, the field gets much tighter among the strong regional powers. Portland A, whos Bailey-centric theory turned heads at last year’s ORCS, looks to make a return. This season, Portland showed its depth at the Bulldog Brawl, and is always a consistent ORCS candidate.

Team to watch:
Chemeketa A: The most impressive thing about Chemeketa Community College’s A team is that there is no B team. Despite its small program size, the close-knit young program (founded in 2014) made ORCS for the first time last year. At ORCS, Chemeketa showed they could compete with the very best with a close -1 -4 round against a UCI A team that went on to place second in their NCT division. Chemeketa will miss last year’s top-performing attorney Celebre Fouka-Nganga, and new competitors will have to step it up if Chemeketa wants to return to ORCS. In the words of AMTA Tab Director Johnathan Woodward, Chemeketa has “steadily improved each year” they have competed, from a 1-7 regional finish their first season to taking 6.5 ballots last year. We hope to see this pattern continue.

St. Louis: (23 teams) ‘The Chicago Area Moves South’ (MAIMD Ranking 27/28)
- 3 teams in top 100, 6 in top 200

First in:
Indiana A
Cinci A

Illinois State A
St Louis A
Indiana B
Chicago C

Initial Thoughts:
This regional has a couple traditional Midwest powers at the top end. Indiana, coming off of their second consecutive placement at Nationals, will certainly be looking to follow up with another successful season. Both NIU A and Cincinnati A narrowly missed out on nationals last year after qualifying in 2017 and will be hoping for a clean regionals run to kick off their journey back to the NCT. Cincinnati in particular has had some impressive showings so far this year, including winning a tournament with their (listed) B team. In the middle of the St. Louis field lie several potential threats, including B and C teams from traditionally deep programs such as Indiana and Chicago. Indiana in particular qualified all four of their teams out of regionals last year, so even with their loss of several A team standouts their B team should not be overlooked. Joining this group are the A teams of Illinois State and St. Louis, both of whom have regularly qualified to ORCS in recent years.

Team to watch:
NIU has been a strong Nationals contender in Midwest ORCS for the past few years, led by top attorney and TBC competitor Katie Harper. With her graduation, we’re interested to see whether the rest of this team can live up to their previous success (although the appearance of her name as an attorney award recipient on this year’s Cornshucker tab summary may indicate either that she decided to stick around or that one of her former teammates is competing under a pseudonym). NIU has posted a range of results this year, placing 2nd with a 7-1 record at ISU but finishing with losing records at more competitive invitationals like Cornshucker.

Wheaton: (26 teams) ‘Contenders’ (MAIMD Ranking 2/28)
- 4 teams in top 100, 7 in top 200

First in:
Ohio State A
Northwood A
Wheaton A

Notre Dame A
Notre Dame B
North Central A
Wheaton B

Initial Thoughts:
This regional is the hardest in the first week. It has an impressive three nationals returners taking up the top of the field: Ohio State A, Northwood A, and Wheaton A, all of who continued to have solid showings at invitationals this fall. Ohio State’s loss of A team attorney Eric Roytman shouldn’t hurt them much here, but could get scary as we reach ORCS. If Wheaton and Northwood face one another, the matchup between top Midwest attorneys Mary-Preston Austin and Chris Grant is sure to be intense and entertaining. Below these top three teams comes Notre Dame. We would say that they were a first in team based on their TPR, but their record is incredibly patchy if you start looking at which team they will get through, so while we are confident that one Notre Dame team will earn a bid, it’s hard to say which one.

Below that cluster we have a large group of teams who have, historically been dangerous at the regional level but not at the ORCS level including Elmhurst, North Central, DePaul, and Hamline. This is likely to mean that the top teams will stomp through this tournament, but everyone else will be tied up in a blood bath for the last few spots, and a lot of it is going to depend on who you hit in what order.

We have two new programs at this regional. Good luck to the Vikings and the Warriors of Bethany Lutheran College and Wisconsin Lutheran College!

Team to watch:
Notre Dame: Notre Dame has had an...interesting record at regionals in the last few years. Both of the last two years, they have earned bids with their A and D teams. This makes it very difficult to predict how they will do with any given team, because it seems that their stacking is somewhat erratic. On a more serious note, this is a team that is working its way back from a devastating loss. As recently as 2015, Notre Dame was a team the made it to nationals with some regularity and placed top 10. In 2015 between ORCS and Nationals, their coach Drew Haas passed away suddenly. Since then, they have struggled to maintain such a high level. This year, however, their invitational results seem promising. They sent two teams to a 6-2 finish at Case Western, Spartan Throwdown taking ballots off of teams that made nationals last year, and only dropping to Miami and Michigan.

If you enjoy reading these analyses feel free to share them with your teams, post them to Mock Trial Confessions, or let us know below. As always, these are meant to be conversation starters, not enders. We do our best to learn as much as we can about the teams, but we would love to hear more in the comments about anything you think we missed. Thanks, and happy mocking!
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