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2019 NCT Rankings Empty 2019 NCT Rankings

Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:37 pm
At Mock Analysis Is My Drug, we love the AMTA Team Power Rankings. They tell us a lot about a program’s performances over the past three years. But AMTA TPR is always a year behind - it only considers the results from previous years. This list attempts to update the power rankings to better reflect the results we’ve seen in the 2018-2019 AMTA season, based on our own competitive experiences this season. Each member of Mock Analysis Is My Drug submitted their own ranking, which was then compiled into the final result found here. As always, we expect surprises. We recognize that these types of rankings are inherently subjective, and hope this starts a conversation and gives all teams at the National Championship a bit more information about their competition. We are excited to see how everyone does at this year’s National Championship.

This year, with less than three weeks to prepare the complex, swing-witness-heavy National Championship case, institutional strength will be more important than ever. That’s why we expect to see teams like Rhodes, UCLA, and Virginia do well this year.

1. Rhodes A (Temple Law Division) - Rhodes never seems to have off years, consistently placing at the top of the NCT field. However, in recent history Rhodes has rarely seen breakout on years either; despite their consistent success, the Lynxes have only made the final round once in the past eighteen years. Last year, Rhodes was points away from an appearance in the championship round after a lucky split in the top R4 matchup (Yale B - Irvine A), and could have faced off against Miami if not for a single -2 ballot in their final trial against Indiana. It might be easy to say that their style lacks the sheer star power that programs like Yale, Miami, and UVA have shown in past years, but Rhodes always manages to win judges over with charisma and bravado (especially from the Rhodes witness core, who’s wacky antics push tastefully on the boundary of being over-the-top.) For a team as consistent as Rhodes, success comes when other top programs falter and, given the slew of top programs that have stumbled this season (UVA barely qualifying one team, returning runners-up Yale B not qualifying, Yale A not getting out of Regionals), this could be their year. And while Rhodes seems to have boiled mock trial down to a teachable formula, they are not afraid to break the mold, as their double-swing-witness calls at ORCS demonstrated. But while crazy strategies are not out of the question, we expect Rhodes to surge to the top of this field not because they try anything novel, but because they are able stay consistent while the competition fumbles.

2. UCLA A (Guliuzza Division) - The Bruins of Los Angeles were not messing around in Santa Monica. On their path to an undefeated ORCS finish, UCLA A ended the NCT dreams of essentially the entire Pacific Northwest, rolling past teams like Oregon, Reed, and Washington. The team also added a statement victory to their 2019 resume with a 2-0 victory over UC Irvine, which cost Irvine a shot at the National Championship. Smooth talkers Rocky Maas and Gabriel Marquez have been charming the jury in openings, while Kuang and Jones have been putting a bow on UCLA’s victories with their impeccable closing arguments. Marquez, Maas, Kuang, and witness Brandon Benjamin have all taken home multiple awards this year, showing off the incredible range of UCLA’s team - Marquez has even been serving double duty as both a top attorney and a top witness. Alongside the team’s strong coaching, star power, and charisma, UCLA is clutch - every time the team has reached the final round, they have won. If they bring this intensity to every round in Philadelphia, it will be hard to stop the Bruins when they step into the courtroom .It’s been 5 years since UCLA won their last championship and this could be their chance to do it again.

3. Virginia A (Temple Law Division) - UVA differentiates itself from other top programs through their ability to reach a high level of polish faster than anyone else. Although we’re a little off put by their ORCS performance (they were the only 5-3 team to make it to Philadelphia), we think that UVA’s strength shows most clearly at the NCT. At ORCS, everyone is very prepared and polished; at the NCT, almost no one is. The only risk to this style is when the rising tide raises all boats - weaker, less polished teams, may benefit from UVA’s clean style as happened last year against Northwestern B in the first round. Look for UVA to roll out flashy, clever demos that it takes other programs an entire season to think up and for them to play the cleanest mock at the entire tournament. That combined with the only two national champions left competing in AMTA, marks UVA as another favorite to play a fifth round in Philly. And if Virginia does manage to make the final, expect them to come prepared for their opponent’s strategy - the team’s army of coaches and scouts have redefined the way that teams approach the National Championship final round in recent years.

4. Yale (Guliuzza Division) - Yale is a program that knows how to prepare for, and succeed at, the National Championship. However, the last year of AMTA competition has been a wild ride for Yale, starting with Yale A’s disappointing performance and Yale B’s dark horse divisional-winning run to the finals at last year’s NCT combined. This year, Yale A finished 5-3 at regionals after a first-round loss to Colby. At ORCS, Yale A seemed to have integrated former Yale A members (including closer Elizabeth Bays and fan-favorite witness Adam Chase) alongside former Yale C members. But before anyone starts to think that Yale’s former C team is a weak group, remember that it was a combination Yale B/C team that made the National Championship final round just a year ago. This new Yale A team performed well at ORCS, but Yale B lagged behind, failing to qualify to the NCT. If Yale A can bring their creative theories, compelling witnesses, and razor-sharp performances to the NCT, they could easily make another final round. But Yale’s style can be risky, and can lead to a high amount of variability (as we saw last year). To put it another way, we would not be surprised to see Yale finish outside of the top 10. At the same time, we would not be surprised to see them win a National Championship -Yale A’s first-place performance at the Shutdown Showdown is certainly a promising sign.

5. Miami A (Guliuzza Division) - This is not the same Miami A that wowed us all last year and won the 2018 National Championship. Almost that entire team is gone and has been replaced by a newer, younger, greener team. They have also had some shifts in their coaching line up in the past few months. And at first we thought that was hurting them badly. The invite season this fall was a rocky one for them and even late in the invite season they went 2-9-1 at GAMTI and failed to appear at any of our >25% national invites in the spring. They posted no MAIMD top performers (a stark contrast to last year). But things have picked up for this young team recently. They did well at some of the smaller invites they attended, at regionals they picked up two bids with strong 8-0 and 6-2 showings and even managed at 4.5 record for their C team. At ORCS they qualified two teams (more than they have in years) each with 6 wins and neither dropping a full round to anyone (just some splits). This indicates that Miami is back to their dominance of the Midwest that we have come to expect from them, and it just remains to be seen you they will do on the national stage in Philly. If Miami’s potent coaching staff can train up this young squad, the team could raise the trophy once again. But with a team full of competitors who have never competed at the National Championship, Miami has their work cut out for them.

6. Ohio State A (Temple Law Division) - When coach Alex Bluebond moved away out of the state of Ohio, we were curious to see if Ohio State’s power would leave along with him. Any doubts aspect were alleviated in Geneva this year, where Ohio State was the top ORCS program in the country with two 7-1 records and a first and second place finish at an extremely competitive tournament. This Ohio State team is used to national-level competition. Not only is Ohio State returning a solid core of competitors from last year’s NCT (Top witness Brooke Bowerman has won awards at almost every tournament this year, but is still looking to earn an All-American), but OSU has continued to compete with top-level teams at tournaments like GAMTI, Black Squirrel, the Shutdown Showdown, and Great Chicago Fire. With this amount of experience, expect to see polished performances out of Ohio State at this year’s National Championship. We hope to see an Ohio State vs. Miami or Ohio State vs. Cincinnati matchup in Philadelphia to see which teams can claim the crown for best in Ohio. Miami currently holds that title - on their way to their victory last year, Miami swept OSU in a close but decisive round 2 matchup. If Ohio State gets a shot at a rematch, claim your seat in the room early, because scouts from everywhere will want to see those sparks fly.

7. Georgia Tech (Temple Law Division) - If you based your predictions for the National Championship based entirely on Mock Trial Confessions, it would be easy to think that Georgia Tech is nothing more than Sarah Stebbins. But the results at this year’s Decatur ORCS tell a different story, as Georgia Tech managed to qualify to the National Championship with their B team’s stellar 7-1 showing. Georgia Tech A was an unfortunate casualty of the new nine-ORCS system, failing to qualify for the NCT despite finishing with a strong 6-2 record in Decatur. This depth could lead to fearsome results at the National Championship, especially if Georgia Tech brings their most fully-stacked team possible. That team would of course include Stebbins - anyone who has seen her compete would agree she is one of the most well-rounded, credible, and clever competitors on the AMTA circuit. It would also include top performers like Sam Porta, Pranav Gandham, and Keyes Gilmer, who have been racking up awards this season. There are reasons to be skeptical of Tech as well, however - although Tech’s B team performed well at ORCS, this performance comes after a series of shaky tournaments. Team 1570 finished regionals with only a single 2-0 victory and a series of splits and ties, capping off a wobbly season full of unconvincing invitational results.

8. Chicago (Temple Law Division) - The University of Chicago had one of the most successful performances at Nationals last year, bringing home 4 All-Americans on one roster. But that came at the end of a season that was pretty variable. This year Chicago has done well at the very top of the invitational circuit with a third place finish at GAMTI and a second place finish at Shutdown Showdown as well as winning their own GCF. This is particularly impressive given that GAMTi came very shortly after they stacked which suggests an ability to prep fast which will come in handy with the short prep time for Nationals. During those three tournaments they have dropped ballots or half ballots to to Cornell, UVA, Tufts and Ohio State B and at ORCS they dropped to Northwestern B, all of whom will be at Nationals this year. But they have consistently avoided dropping both. The question for Chicago at nationals then will be whether they can keep the splits from barring them from a top placement.

9. Cornell University A (Guliuzza Division) - Cornell A returns to NCT with hopes to repeat its success at last year’s nationals as a team and program. Though its B team faced minor trouble at regionals this year, Cornell’s A team has only dropped a total of 2 ballots (against two national caliber teams-Columbia A and Fordham University Lincoln Center A). With a stellar invitational season, two All-Americans (Steven Torres and Josh Sims) and All-Nationals (Kenisha Paliwal and Erik Szakiel), we expect Cornell do very well regardless of who they hit in Philadelphia.

10. Stanford (Guliuzza Division) - In any given year, Stanford can be pretty hard to read before ORCS. They don’t attend many of the top invites and so are hard to compare to other teams of their calibre. They did well at Berkeley’s AAMTI and some smaller invites, but suffered at UCLASSIC. This year, they bucked their trend of having one team do extraordinarily well in the AMTA season and one do poorly, but unfortunately the result was two 6-2 teams one of which got left on the open bid list. This program is clearly stacked with talent, so now the question is which members they will be sending to nationals, and would a younger Stanford roster with members from Stanford B be able to carry on the success they have had in the last few years.

11. Tufts (Temple Law Division) - In a year where Harvard missed out on the National Tournament, other Boston-area schools like Tufts, BU, and BC picked up the slack. At the top of this Boston bunch is Tufts, a team filled with experienced National Championship competitors from last year’s 6th-place divisional finish. This year’s Tufts team is tough and technical. Three Tufts A attorneys (Alphonse, Milano, and Becker) picked up awards in Chestnut Hill as Tufts cruised to a 7-0-1 finish. While this year’s NCT case probably will not allow All-American witness William Porter to play a character similar to his terrifying Joker-inspired Floyd, he can also turn on the charm when he needs to (as his Alex Grace has shown).

12. Northwestern A (Temple Law Division) - This year’s Northwestern team is enigmatic. Northwestern A struggled throughout the invitational season with a 2-6 finish at the Shutdown Showdown, a 4-4 showing at Yale, and a 5-3 record at GCF. But these tournaments clearly prepared Northwestern for the AMTA season, as the program slaughtered their way to an 8-0 regional record before earning a bid to the NCT with a solid 6-2 ORCS performance. This same volatility could be seen at last year’s National Championship, where Northwestern’s defense side finished with a perfect 6-0 record while the prosecution side struggled. This year’s Northwestern A combines new talent with a solid core of competitors, including All-Americans Nick Anderson and Michael Zhou alongside evidence expert Kate Hayner-Slattery. The team’s experienced, credible, and likeable witness core rounds out a strong Northwestern lineup. With Northwestern qualifying two teams to the National Championship for the second year in a row, this year is their chance to cement the program’s legacy among the top teams in the country.

13. Rhodes B (Guliuzza Division) - Don’t let the “B” designation fool you - Rhodes has two teams capable of competing with anyone in the country. The reason that Rhodes B is the top-ranked B team on our list (and in the current TPR) is that the institutional strength of Rhodes allows the program to have two teams who can compete at the highest level. Rhodes B proved as much with their 4th-place division finish last year in Minneapolis. But despite last year’s success, Rhodes B has had some weak National Championship performances in recent memory, finishing in the bottom ranks of their division in 2016 and 2017. These potential weaknesses can be spotted in the 5.5-win, +9 PD finish of Rhodes B at regionals.

14. Florida (Guliuzza Division) - The University of Florida was one of the big surprises of the AMTA season last year, qualifying two teams to Nats after a series of strong invitational showings. And they returned a majority of their Nationals experience from last year as well, graduating 4 members of the A team and no members of the B team. One of the deepest programs in the country (with an E team) as well as hosts of their first invitational this past year, look for Florida to keep trying to cement their place in the upper echelon of AMTA. We think there’ll be some growing pains and struggles with replacing players like their captains and closers Matt Solomon and Stewart Subjinski, but we have seen that new players have stepped up and are maintaining a level of competition that is just as high. Kaitlyn Salyer and Natalia Braga are returning experience from last year’s A team, and Andres Chris is a strong B team competitor from last year with NCT experience who can be depended on to show up when it matters.

15. UC Berkeley (Guliuzza Division)- Watching UC Berkeley compete during the regular AMTA season can be like watching a flawlessly choreographed dance routine. Berkeley is at their best when their attorneys and witnesses are working together to tell a smart, simple story of their case. When all of these pieces click, Berkeley is hard to beat. The problem for the Berkeley team in recent years has been that it is hard for them to reach this level of showmanship and polish in the short preparation time before the National Championship, which often leaves Cal struggling to distance themselves from the middle of the pack, as evidenced by their dismantling at the hands of NYU at last year’s National Championship (and Yale the year before). Gurbir Singh, Pablo Moraga, and Smita Balaji have been cleaning up for this year’s Berkeley team, giving them the star power they will need to make a deep run in Philadelphia - especially if UCLA legend Brandon Hughes (a current Berkeley Law student) helps out. And while Berkeley’s finishes at top tournaments like GAMTI and the Shutdown Showdown have not been the most encouraging, these tournaments have also given team 1258 the top-level experience they need to succeed. No matter how they do, we expect that anyone who gets a chance to face Berkeley’s incredibly friendly, occasionally-casually-bathrobe-wearing team will enjoy both a fun trial and meeting a group of great people.

16. Emory A (Temple Law Division) - Emory has had a strong invite season this year featuring invites from across the difficulty spectrum with a 6-2 finish at their own Peach Bowl, 5-3 at Capital City, 5-3 at Classic City, 8-0 at Crimson Classic, 5.5 at Seminole Smackdown, 5-3 at Ramblin Wreck, 5-3 at ToRo, 3.5-4.5 at Spartan Throwdown. The consistent strength from their A team at difficult tournaments suggests that they will be able to hold their own at a Tournament like the NCT and have a good shot of a high placement. But they still consistently drop ballots to teams at the top of our rankings which may make it difficult for them if they hit an unfortunate schedule or if they have dreams of an NCT final.

17. Howard (Temple Law Division) - Howard has officially returned to form. After their strong showing at Nationals last year, Howard returns with majority of the same roster they had last year. Howards style is fairly formulaic, but it works! You can believe that they will find a way to have a new demo to string through their entire case, quite literally tying their case together with a bow. Howard has some of the strongest speakers and strongest raw presenters on the circuit. They will not be out performed by anyone, as they have shown in recent years. Between amazing coach Angela Minor and strong competitors like Rhyan Lake (who has been absolutely raking in awards at both regionals and ORCS), Victoria Bankole, and Lundyn Davis look to continue their work from last year.

18. Columbia (Guliuzza Division) - It’s pure redemption for Columbia. Returning as a team that missed out on last year’s NCT as a result of the 2018 Lancaster bloodbath, Columbia is bringing with it the hope to return to its historical glory as one of the nation’s top teams. After a decent  showing at regionals, going 5-3-0, Columbia pulled through in Central Islip with 6.5 wins. It may be of note to recognize that the program hasn’t quite been as dominant as they have in the past: against high quality teams in the spring season (Cornell A, Penn State, NYU C, Wesleyan B, Fordham Lincoln Center B), Columbia has split every single round. Though the team is stacked with star-studded witnesses(Mashell Rahimzadeh and Hardy Hewson need no introduction), the team has recently lacked a star attorney who is able to command trials in their direction like Rachel Sommers or Nick Zurawski. It would be a disservice not to mention Johanne Karizamimba’s attorney award at Central Islip, but we’re curious to see how their team’s attorneys (including a freshman) stack up against the nation’s best.

19. Maryland, Baltimore County (Guliuzza Division) - When UMBC posted on its Instagram mid-July that they had a summer scrimmage, we knew they were returning to the 2018-2019 season to win; so far, they’ve done a lot of that. While people may have been surprised to see them in the field at GAMTI, they certainly proved their worth there. Then they really turned heads after going a whopping 8-0 at a very competitive Hilltop Invitational. Through the AMTA season so far, at Owings Mills, they won 7.5 ballots and narrowly missed out on an 8 after a tie with La Salle, and at the Richmond ORCS, UMBC had 6 wins after hitting four good teams: Harvard, GWU A, GWU B, and Washington and Lee. Bringing with them a lot of talent in the form of somehow-a-sophomore Sydney Gaskins (double sided awards at regionals and ORCS), alongside seniors Ethan Hudson and Nihir Nanavaty, and coached by the one and only Ben Garmoe, it sounds like UMBC’s summer training is going to pay off in Philadelphia, right in their backyard.

20. Georgia A (Guliuzza Division) - After a few years in a row of narrowly missing out on an NCT bid, Georgia is on a mission to reclaim their former status as a powerhouse program, starting by qualifying two teams this year. Led by competitors like Caroline Pearson (double awards awards at GCF) and Dorothy Rau (awards at Black Squirrel, Classic City, and GCF), UGA has posted a wildly inconsistent invitational schedule including 6-2 at GCF, 1-7 at Ramblin’ Wreck, and 3-5 at Carolina Classic. Georgia kicked off the competitive season with solid but not astounding results, going 6-1-1 at regionals and taking the last bid out of Memphis with 5.5 wins (after dropping both ballots last round to Alabama B, two rounds after they swept Alabama A on the same side). Georgia’s creative, flashy style sets them apart from many traditional southern programs, and may lead them to further success in Philly with a judging pool more accustomed to it.

21. Duke (Temple Law Division) - With the exception of last year when they just barely missed a bid, Duke has been a fixture of nationals for the last few years. Since the introduction of the New Case system, however, Duke has struggled to attain the level of success they once had on the national stage, generally placing in the honorable mention range. This year they have had stand out performances from MAIMD Top competitors Tristan Malhotra and Mikaela Johnson but mixed team performances with a 6-2 at Carolina Classic, 3-5 at Classic City, 5-7 at GAMTI, 7-1 at Happy Valley, 6-2 at Scarlet and Grey, 3-5 at Ramblin Wreck, 6-2 at their own ToRo. Their ORCS performance was a strong 7-1 however, so they will probably hope that some of the variability of the invite season is behind them. We will see whether this year they can pull off the new case prep and continue to succeed at Nationals.

22. Ohio State B (Guliuzza Division) - Based on their results at both regionals and ORCS, Ohio State B is as strong as most A teams. With a first place finish in Geneva (including a 2-0 victory over Arizona), Ohio State B’s confident, aggressive attorneys are anchored by All-National Maddie Driscoll. Their attorney’s volume and performance can take the spotlight away from the opposing team, while competitors like Anna Defendiefer and Julia Cash deliver entertaining but realistic witness portrayals.

23. Wesleyan A (Temple Law Division) - With 3 teams earning bids at regionals, and both teams earning bids to nationals, it is evident that Wesleyan is a program with a lot of depth. After missing out on a bid at the 2018 Lancaster bloodbath (where they had the misfortune of hitting Cornell A, NYU A, and NYU B), they will look to repeat their program’s dark horse success at the 2017 NCT when Wesleyan placed 7th in their division (the same year they qualified for ORCS for the first time not through an open bid). After graduating all but one member of the 2017 team, however, the program’s A team has much to prove. With 5.5 wins at both the New Rochelle regionals and Chestnut Hill ORCS (in comparison to the 7 ballots that their B team won at regionals and ORCS), we question whether Wesleyan A has the ability to succeed at this year’s NCT. At the very least, some restacking is called for after results like those. The team will nonetheless have top performers like Heather Pincus (who has won awards at GAMTI, Yale, Tufts, and Regionals) and Fitzroy Wickham (double-sided all-ORCS witness in 2018, and single-sided all-ORCS witness in 2017). We expect Wesleyan to hold their own against middle-of-the-pack teams, but worry that their programs is still too new to do anything but struggle if paired against a powerhouse top-10 program.

24. Northwood (Temple Law Division) - Chris Grant is looking to end his Senior year with a strong showing at Nationals. While people have closely tied Northwood to Chris Grant, they are overlooking a strong supporting cast, starting with star witness Simeon Lawrence and the always likeable Zach Messner (awards at regionals and ORCS), but you shouldn’t overlook benchmate Parker Lunchbill, who managed to pick up 17 ranks at regionals on the same side as Chris Grant also got 17, they were clearly taking ballots away from each other, and together make quite a formidable bench. Northwood has had very consistently middle of the pack performances throughout the year and we expect them to continue that. Northwood we expect to end with a winning record, and likely take home a trophy.

25. Patrick Henry (Guliuzza Division) - The difficulty and stress of ORCS is difficult for any team. But we can hardly imagine what it must have been like for Patrick Henry to compete after the loss of coach Frank Guiliuzza. Dr. Guiliuzza’s legacy lives on in this Patrick Henry team. Lead by All-American Chris Baldacci, Patrick Henry has had a strong season, including top placings at early-season invitationals (a good sign for the short preparation time before the National Championship). We wish them the best of luck at the National Championship.

26. UCLA B (Temple Law Division) - UCLA has an interesting history with lower teams. On one hand, UCLA B, C, D, and even E regularly earn bids out of regionals, showing the depth of the program. On the other hand, UCLA B has not qualified for a National Championship in quite a while. And judging from UCLA’s records this season (often sitting close to .500), there certainly seems to be a power drop off between UCLA’s A and B teams. But at the same time UCLA showed up when it counted at ORCS, breezing to a 6-0 record through 3 rounds and finishing at 7-1. Interestingly, in the same round that UCLA A killed Irvine A’s shot at a National Championship appearance, UCLA B did the same to Irvine B. However, UCLA B was not content with simply beating Irvine B - they absolutely dominated, obliterating Irvine with a +31, +24 beatdown. UCLA can often win trials on likeability alone, but can falter when they leave the west coast and face more technical and aggressive teams. When the team is paired up with judges who enjoy UCLA’s performative style, they can be hard to beat. So while UCLA B is probably not likely to be finishing at the top of the podium, they will be an incredibly difficult team to sweep in Philadelphia.

27. Fordham, Lincoln Center (Guliuzza Division) - While major teams like Rutgers, Richmond, and NYU fell short of a bid at this year’s Central Islip ORCS, Fordham LC, with 5.5 ballots, grabbed onto the last bid. It was no easy feat though— in order to make it out, they had to play both Richmond teams and Rutgers. Like we previously mentioned in our ORCS analysis, Fordham plays classic mock trial, with their standard case theory, witnesses, and slow but polished performances, and more often than not, it works. The worry, however, is that, with this year’s shorter prep time and younger team members, Fordham LC may not be able to pull off the same level of polish, and this, in contrast to the creative and flashy performances that many nationals-level teams bring, may prevent them from performing as well as they have this past season. That being said, we expect Fordham, Lincoln Center to have a good showing in Philadelphia, with top performers—in the likes of Travis Knoppert, Jamie Haas, and Evan Donaldson—leading the way.

28. Penn State (Guliuzza Division) - Much of the news this year about Penn State (at least if you listen to Perjuries, MTC, or the Mock Review) has been about their D team with its surprising 8-0 finish at regionals. But the rest of the program from Penn State are no slouches either. They have had very consistent records at a number of high end tournaments this season. They also performed quite well the last time they made it to nationals in 2017 which suggests that their program is equipped to handle the shorter prep time entailed by a nationals run. At ORCS they qualified their B team through the hardest field ORCS field in the country with a 6-2 record beating nationals returner, Xavier by solid margins (+7, +11) and losing only to Michigan.

29. Rochester (Temple Law Division) - When Rochester A didn’t automatically bid to ORCS after a mediocre performance at regionals, many in the mock community were surprised. More surprising was their performance at Hamilton ORCS, where, among great programs like Miami, Penn State, and Michigan, Rochester ended up placing first with 6.5 wins. In their third consecutive appearance at nationals, Rochester A will try to improve their performances against the nation’s best. In the past two years at nationals, Rochester has never been able to place in the top ten (last year, they made honorable mention). The question in our minds is therefore whether Rochester will be able to break into the top ten this year. With TBC competitor Deisey Abarca-Espiritú and a team with a memory of nationals-caliber mock trial, we are excited to see how Rochester performs in Philadelphia.

30. Cornell University B (Temple Law Division) - Though Cornell B placed fourth in their division at last year’s National Championship, we ranked the team at 30th because most of their B team members from last year graduated onto their A team. After missing a bid at regionals, we were concerned about how Cornell’s B/C restacking would change Cornell’s ability to qualify two teams out of ORCS. Cornell B, however, left Central Islip with 6 wins and a bid to nationals, proving, once again, the depth of their program. With consistent top performers and nationals returners Emma LoMastro and Christine Scott, we’re interested to see what the newly formed Cornell B team brings to nationals.

31. Boston University (Temple Law Division) - Lead by long time coach and tab-room regular Ed Stern, Boston University is an interesting program whose B team is often just as strong as their A team. In 2016 they qualified both teams and both of the last two years they have qualified neither but just missed. Last year their B team went 5-3 and two years ago their A went 5-3 and their B went 4.5. This year they managed to get one team to 5-3 and another to an impressive 7.5-0.5 at ORCS. This suggests a strong depth of program. In terms of style they have a tendency to be incredibly likable both in and out of the courtroom and play clean easy to follow mock trial. Last time they made it to nationals they ended with disappointing 6-14 and 4-15-1 records (again showing parity between the teams). It remains to be seen whether with only one team in the game they will try to put together some sort of super team or simply run with the group they already have.

32. Cincinnati (Guliuzza Division) - A team that is consistently on the bubble between ORCS and Nationals, Cincinnati is looking to regain national prominence after failing to qualify to Nats last year. Fifth year senior Steven Johnson will be looking to end his career with a strong showing (and perhaps an All-American). It remains to be seen whether Johnson will be returning to Trial by Combat after competing there last year, because his name is not among the 8 that have already been released. Cincinnati plays a very straightforward, no-nonsense style of mock that critics could describe as clinical. The Bearcats also boast other strong competitors like Casmir Thornberry and Julia Greve. With AMTA final round commentator Josh Leckrone serving as a program figurehead and Austin LiPuma helping in a more direct coaching capacity, Cincinnati will look to end their season in style.

33. Georgetown (Guliuzza Division) - After placing first at the Richmond ORCS with a record of 7-1 and with their B team earning an Honorable Mention, Georgetown broke onto the scene in a somewhat unexpected way. Even more impressive than that, Georgetown A hit BOTH Virginia teams in their 4 ORCS rounds, going a cumulative 3-1 (sweeping UVA B and splitting with UVA A). Playing a very clean and very simple style and theory, Georgetown is subscribing to the belief that the most important thing about mock trial is to make the judges understand what you’re doing. Led by captain Erik Zhao, we’re excited to see what the Hoyas can do at the top level.

34. UC Davis (Guliuzza Division)- UC Davis has often been overshadowed by other UC’s in recent years but they have been quietly doing quite well, attending nationals more often than not. They don’t seem to have quite cracked the nationals code though, as the last two times they have attended they haven’t topped taking a third of their ballots.  They have had middling performances at West Coast strong invites this season, getting stronger as the year went on and pulling off two 6-2 finishes at Berkeley’s atypiCAL invite this January. They converted this success to a 6-2 finish at ORCs with a respectably high CS of 17 losing out only to Cal. They will presumably be hoping that they can keep the momentum going and carry themselves through to a placement at Nationals.

35. Miami B (Temple Law Division) - Coming into this season, a lot of people were counting on Miami to not be as successful as they were last year. They graduated everyone who had competed on the team that won Nationals. But so far, Miami has actually achieved more success during the AMTA season than they did at this same point last year. Qualifying both teams to Nationals out of a Hamilton ORCS that was more difficult than last year’s is nothing to sneeze at. And this B team has the potential to be dangerous as well - boasting strong competitors like Junho Moon, Izzy Schwarze, and Kayla Groneck. Any A team who plays Miami B at Nationals should go in expecting a high caliber round, especially given the size of Miami’s coaching staff and the potential for Miami A and B to practice the NCT case with inter-team scrimmages. On the shorter NCT turnaround, the most important thing for any team to be able to do is churn out good material on a short timeframe and Miami is very well equipped to accomplish that. However, despite the program’s recent success, Miami B is a rare sight at the National Championship, and the gap between Miami A and Miami B’s TPR this season is more than 100 ranks (as compared to 12 ranks for Rhodes and 27 ranks for Virginia).

36. Minnesota (Temple Law Division) - After a disappointing finish at last year’s NCT, Minnesota seemed posed for a promising season when they graduated no one from their Nationals A team. Although their team competing at tournaments this year seems to be composed of a dramatically different roster, they’ve put up a variety of records at strong tournaments, including 6-2 at Yale, 4-4 at Cornshucker, 8-0 at Loras, 4-4 at Racheter, 3.5-4.5 at GCF, 6.5-1.5 at Ole Open, and 3-5 at Nordic. In the AMTA season, they’ve put on a strong showing, taking the first bid at both their regionals and ORCS with 8-0 and 6-1-1 records respectively. While they seem to have found success in Midwest tournaments, their style may not help them as much in Philly, and Minnesota will certainly be hoping their new competitors can lead them to more success than last year. But having a group of veteran competitors who know how to handle the preparation for and stress of a National Championship will certainly be a boost to Minnesota.

37. Northwestern B (Guliuzza Division) - Northwestern B did not have the most promising Invitational season. Since Stack they went 3-5 at GCF and and 4-4 at Ramlbin’ Wreck, but in the AMTA Season, this team has stepped up their game. Lead by Captain Braden Pomerantz who double awarded at regionals and awarded again at ORCS, this team managed to pull off a 6-2 record while playing both Chicago and Indiana A, both of whom have made nationals in the last few years. Northwestern B made nationals last year and was not entirely inspiring with the lowest record in their division, but they still managed to prove themselves a credible threat by taking a ballot off of UVA A in the first round. This year Northwestern B returns many members from that team and will hope to earn a more impressive overall finish.

38. Boston College (Temple Law Division) - Boston College returns to the National Championship after missing out last year. Their last trip to the National Championship ended with a fairly disappointing finish, but there are good signs for the Eagles this year. An 8-0 record at regionals always looks good, although 10 CS makes it difficult to say that BC faced much of a challenge. But the team certainly stepped up to the challenge in Chestnut Hill, as they managed to host a successful and smoothly-run ORCS while also earning a bid to Philadelphia. BC’s only loss of that weekend came from an incredibly close -1 -1 loss to a tough Boston University team, although the rest of BC’s schedule (two UCONN teams and UMass Lowell) left something to be desired. But the fact that the program can compete with a team like BU shows the team can handle tough trials. Attorneys Bailey Greenberg and Joshua Holtz took home ORCS awards as well. Greenberg is on track to finish an AMTA award trifecta this season, with awards at both regionals and ORCS.

39. Cornell College (Guliuzza Division) - Cornell College has had a few dry years after a successful streak of nationals performances. This year they have done very well at mid level invites have not had the opportunity to show they can hold their own in a harder field with a 6-2 finish in Yale’s B division, a 6-2 at Loras, 7-1 at Arch invite, 5-3 at Huskie Cup. a 4-4 finish at Cornshucker, 5-3 at Racheter, 6-2 at Calkins, and 3-5 at Durst. Their only “top” tournament this year was Cornshucker where they ended with a 4-4 record. Thus, it was a pleasant surprise to see Cornell do well at ORCS, although a bit of bracket luck may have helped them out along the way. Given that Cornell University qualified two teams for the national championship, there will certainly be a chance of a Cornell v. Cornell matchup to see who can claim the title of “Best Team Named Cornell”.

40. UC San Diego (Temple Law Division) - We don’t need to jump into the debate of who is the best competitor in the West Coast to say that San Diego’s Justin Koo should strike fear into the hearts of any team in Philadelphia. San Diego is returning to the National Championship on the back of a respectable 5-7 finish in Minneapolis last year. Given how difficult it can be to break out of the crowded California pack, the fact that San Diego has returned for a second consecutive year shows that the team knows how to be consistently competitive. The Tritons have had very few breakout performances this season, however, advancing to ORCS after an unconvincing 5-3 regionals record which included an 0-2 loss to UC Davis B. A series of incredibly close ballots at ORCS, alongside a season full of 5-3 and 4-4 tournaments, does little to alleviate doubts about the team.

41. North Carolina (Temple Law Division) - As North Carolina’s 1-seeded basketball team heads to the Sweet Sixteen, UNC’s mock trial team is heading to the Elite (fourty) Eight in Philadelphia. Lead by Madux Price and Jared Warner, this year’s Tar Heels team defeated teams from American University, Howard University, and Fresno State on their path through ORCS. This tough schedule, and UNC’s 7-1 finish, shows that UNC can compete at a high level. Just as impressive is UNC’s Spirit of AMTA award at regionals - showing that the team both works and plays hard. Look out for award-winning attorney Caleb Gill in Philadelphia.

42. Wesleyan B (Guliuzza Division) - Wesleyan B surprised us at Owings Mills when they came third with a 7-1 record, and they definitely surprised everyone at Central Islip when they placed first with a 7-1 record. It is the first time the program is sending their B team to Nationals, however, and given Wesleyan’s mediocre invitational results (going 3-5-0 at Black Squirrel, 3-5-0 at Yale’s Monkey Business Division, and 3-4-1 at Tuft’s Mumbo Jumbo Invitational), we question whether the short preparation time towards the NCT will impede on their abilities to perform at the caliber that they have been performing at over the past spring season. Against teams with more experience, polish, and creativity, Wesleyan’s B team may struggle if they aren’t on their A game. We’re unsure of who will be on Wesleyan B’s roster since their A and B teams have seen minor changes between regionals and ORCS, but in spite of that, we’re excited to see how the team does at their first ever NCT. Perhaps they may surprise us once again.

43. Dayton (Guliuzza Division) - Four years ago, Dayton finished 0-8 at regionals. But despite an inauspicious beginning, anyone who thinks Dayton reaching the National Championship is a surprise hasn’t been paying enough attention. Dayton is now coached by Miami alum Dan Haughey, who has quickly and quietly turned the program into a fearsome competitive force. Dayton’s A team has not had a losing record this season, with 5-3 records at CUBAIT and Scarlett and Grey, two first place finishes at Swear Me In Scotty and Hoosier. In other words, this year’s Dayton squad is used to winning. The team had a top-ranking witness (Jennifer Guerriero) and a top-ranking attorney (Margaret Ward) at ORCS, and the team is filled with juniors and seniors looking to make an impact at their first ever National Championship. Senior Anna Choquette has been having a great season, with a number of attorney awards. However, Dayton has been running with a small but talented A team this season - given the number of swing witnesses in this championship case, and the fact that this Dayton team has never prepared for a National Championship together, this team might be stretched to their absolute limits. But with strong coaching and an experienced roster, Dayton could be one of the biggest surprises in Philadelphia.

44. Georgia B (Temple Law Division) - Georgia showed off their depth this year on their way back to Nationals by qualifying two teams despite having not sent any for the past few years. Their B team has posted winning or tied or tied records across several tournaments (many with two word names both starting with C) this year, including 5-3 at Capital City, 4-4 at Carolina Classic, 5-3 at Classic City, and 4-4 at ToRo, as well as 3-5 records at tournaments like GCF and Ramblin’ Wreck. While this is impressive depth and parity for a program, the fact that their records have steadily declined at hard tournaments suggests that some of their early success may be the result of Georgia starting far earlier than other programs and may struggle on a national stage.

45. Emory B (Guliuzza Division) - It was actually Emory C that automatically qualified out of regionals with a 7-1 record (Emory B finished 3-3-2). Despite a reshuffling of the team, Emory’s B team came out of Decatur with a strong showing, taking the last bid out of their ORCS. While Emory has been a strong team for years, this is the first time Emory B has earned a bid to the National Championship. Impressively, the team had a CS of 19 at Decatur after splitting with Georgia Tech and Furman, both of whom are historically established teams, and still came out with 6 wins. While Emory B hasn’t accrued quite as many individual awards as their A team (only one individual—Sara Delacey—has won an individual award over this spring season), we are interested to see how the team performs in Philadelphia—their outstanding ORCS performance certainly shows that they have the ability to perform well against great competitors. As a student-run organization, preparation for the National Championship can be grueling, but having two teams preparing together will help Emory bounce ideas off each other as the teams get ready.

46. St. Thomas (Minnesota) (Temple Law Division) - St. Thomas grabbed an open bid after missing out on a direct bid out of Cedar Rapids, falling half a CS point shy of Northwestern A. St. Thomas earned their open bid without playing any other teams that made it to the NCT at ORCS, making it difficult to judge how this team will they will stand up to the NCT field. Early in the season they ended up with a 3-5 record at CUBAIT, where they also faced no teams that ended up making it to the NCT. None of this is to say that they will not be able to face off against NCT teams when given the chance, but Philadelphia could be a trial by fire for this relatively untested program.

47. Texas A&M (Temple Law Division) - We would give Texas A&M a big thumbs up for reaching the National Championship this year, but they would probably remind us that the correct term for that hand gesture is “gig ‘em”. TAMU finished with 7 wins at a tough Memphis ORCS, including a split against Rhodes A. Aside from this round, however, TAMU’s path through ORCS was not the most difficult, as the other 3 teams they faced finished with a combined 6 ballots between them. However, we can tell that Texas A&M is not playing around this year (especially since they registered with AMTA early enough to snag the 1008 team designation). Lee Webb has been performing well as both an attorney and a witness, and we hope to see the Aggies bring their fighting spirit to Philadelphia.

48. South Carolina (Guliuzza Division) - From an open bid out of regionals to a spot at the National Championship, South Carolina’s story this year has been nothing less than inspiring. But don’t think that the Gamecocks’ first bid to the NCT is a fluke - the team has been putting up solid performances all season, with winning records at Seminole Smackdown, Tobacco Road, and Mid-South. South Carolina also delivered one of the biggest shellackings of the regional season with a +51 +27 victory over Nova Southeastern in Orlando. South Carolina’s road through ORCS was no breeze, but the team maintained an impressive 6-2 record despite facing top teams like Florida, Furman, and Florida State. The first National Championship Tournament for any team can often be a brutal learning experience, but South Carolina has been a consistent ORCS qualifier over the last decade, showing that the team is used to preparing for tough tournaments. Senior captains Greg Burton and Bryn Sluder lead a team of experienced competitors, and have already capped of their senior years with the best performance in school history. Although we expect the National Championship to be a difficult time for South Carolina, no matter what happens in Philadelphia, this team has already won.
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