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2021 OLT Analysis Empty 2021 OLT Analysis

Thu Jul 29, 2021 12:33 pm
The official final tournament of the 2020-21 season is just around the corner! All of our graduated seniors have an opportunity to compete in mock with the One Last Time tournament. This is the second year of the OLT format, meaning that we expect it to be a time of surprises. Last year, it was the first online team competition and was one of the places where we saw experimentation with things that would become mainstays later in the season. This year, with a year of online competition under our belt and the return to in-person competition (hopefully) approaching quickly, we expect to see fewer new innovations in the realm of online mock than we did last year. But we still expect the variation between 4v4 and 6v6 and the phenomenon of combo teams from different schools to put a new spin on things.

We of course wanted to provide some analysis of this tournament. Each of our members ranked all of the OLT teams, and then we averaged those rankings to create a full MAIMD list (excluding this year’s strong bye-buster because they won’t be playing a normal schedule). We’ve written an analysis below of our predicted top 5 teams.

Best of luck to all of the teams competing!!!

1. Team 43: Jacob Jordan (Northwestern), Michael Zhou (Northwestern), Sahil Nerurkar (Chicago), Alberto Paquime Arevalo (NYU), Will Wilson (Tufts)

This group comes into OLT with the most star power of any team at the tournament. It’s headlined, of course, by Sahil Nerurkar, who finished in 6th place at Trial by Combat in June and is an All-American Attorney to boot. Nerurkar has a reputation for being one of the best openers in AMTA, and he’s probably the strongest member of this team when it comes to the Rules of Evidence. That being said, Team 43 is by no means a one-man show. Nerurkar is joined by fellow Illinoisans Jordan and Zhou, who captained Northwestern A throughout a very successful season this year (1st at Beach Party, 2nd at GCF, 10th at NCT). Jordan was an All-Regional Witness this year and is relatively well-known on the circuit for playing a very understated, likeable character witness. On a team with a lot of flair and a fairly aggressive style, calm, cool, and collected performances from Jordan could be the key to victory. Zhou, who won an All-American on Northwestern B his freshman year in 2018, is a very good opener who will be a reliable attorney presence for this squad. There is a balance problem with this team, however. Nerurkar and Zhou aren’t their only two openers. They’ve also got Will Wilson from Tufts, who has been a big name on the circuit since the 2018 NCT in Minneapolis, where he burst onto the AMTA scene at the afterparty by introducing himself to every single Nationals competitor. Wilson is coming off an All-National Attorney award and a 2nd place finish at the NCT, and his trademark likeability figures to be an enormous part of this team’s prospective success. We’ll be interested to see which attorneys open for this team and which ones close. Rounding out the group is New York’s Alberto Arevalo, who finished his senior season by winning All-National Attorney and Witness awards. Now, of course, this team could struggle at OLT. There are plenty of reasons why an all-star team like this can fail to come together: ego, team dynamics, perhaps too much testosterone. But on paper, the tournament is Team 43’s to lose, and we’re excited to see what they can do.

2. Team 17: Milo Cason-Snow  (UMass Amherst), Isabelle Giuttari (UMass Amherst), Peter Jones (UMass Amherst), Ryan Mulligan (UMass Amherst), Patrick Vargue (UMass Amherst)

This team represents a large portion of a UMass Amherst program that’s been on the rise for several years. UMass has been on the cusp of breaking out of ORCS since 2019, when they went 5-3 despite playing a number of teams who often make nationals (and splitting with all of them). This year at ORCS they had a rough draw, getting swept by another rising star, FSU, in the first round and losing 2-1 to eventual NCT champions UMBC in their second round. The fact that they managed to finish with a 6-6 record in the end is a testament to the strength of this team. And it is a testament to the strength of this program’s leadership (also represented by this bunch) that their B team managed to go 8-4 at ORCS, just missing a bid, despite having a challenging schedule as well. The success that this program has seen over the last few years is at least in part attributable to this very group of people. Jones, Cason-Snow, and Guittari were all on their program’s executive board this year. Competitively, Guittari took an All-National witness award at ORCS, and Jones took an All-Regional witness award and was on our Top Competitors list for attorney awards at Soda City and Wolverine Classic. This program doesn’t have the sheer star power of some of the other teams on this list. It doesn’t have any All-Americans or even any competitors who have been to NCT (which may be difficult with the short prep time for OLT). But we’ve learned not to underestimate UMass, and having a team entirely made up of people who we know to be driven and able to work together makes us confident this team will do well.

3. Team 86: Veronica Bido (Rutgers), Keegan Coppola (Boston College), Ayesha Pasha (Stanford), Virginia Sciolino (Wesleyan)

This team is a very interesting mix of competitors and programs. The biggest name is almost certainly Ayesha Pasha, an All-American Witness from Stanford. Throw in players from strong programs like All-Regional Attorney Virginia Sciolino from Wesleyan, 2020 All-Regional Attorney Keegan Coppola from Boston College, and All-National Attorney Veronica Bido from Rutgers, and you’ve got a real threat in this OLT field. They won’t have the chemistry of the UMass Amherst group that’s been working together for years and years, but they’ve got something that nearly every other team lacks: success at the NCT on short case prep. In a format where teams have just a few weeks with the case problem, having two competitors who have placed in the top-10 at Nationals stands out as no small thing. Another strength of Team 86 is versatility. While Pasha won her All-American portraying an expert-type in Blaine Crawford, she can attorney, and has in the past. Sciolino, who is typically an attorney for Wesleyan A, played Wesleyan’s defendant at the NCT. We don’t know how they’ll assign roles, but having competitors who can do it all certainly doesn’t hurt when preparing for a 2v2 tournament. This team also has no shortage of leaders: Pasha was President of Stanford Mock Trial this season, and captained them to a 6th place finish at the NCT. Sciolino captained Wesleyan to a 5th place finish in the other division. Bido, too, led her team—as President of Rutgers Mock Trial. This team’s success will come down to how well they can figure out how to work together. But with competitors as talented as this group, it seems hard to imagine them underperforming on OLT weekend. We wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the final round.

4. Team 70: Kailyn Bowman (Central Washington), Max Friedman (Emory), Brendan Hayner-Slattery (Vanderbilt), Aimee Houvengale (Georgetown College)

If there is a team to watch, it is Team 70. This group is the tournament’s wild card. We wouldn’t be shocked if this team made the final round, but we also wouldn’t be shocked to see them fail to place at all. Starting with some of the things that might work in their favor, this team got more awards this AMTA season than almost any other team (Team 43 is the only one that won more). Bowman, Friedman and Hayner-Slattery all won All-Regional Attorney awards, and Friedman won an All-American Witness and an All-National Attorney award while captaining Emory B to Nationals. So we know that there is undoubtedly a bunch of talent on this team. The major question with this squad is how well they can work together. While they’re all individually talented competitors, this team has never worked together before, and their programs have varying levels of success—ranging from 2 wins at regionals to 6 wins at Nationals. Honestly, it’s hard to conceive of a more disparate group of mock trial programs than Central Washington, Emory, Vanderbilt, and Georgetown College. Last year, we saw a lot of success from teams with members from different schools, with four of the six teams that placed having at least three schools represented. We’ll see if Team 70 can repeat that success.

5. Team 29: Leah Dryfus (Macalester), Lily Irvin (Macalester), Scotland Kramer (Macalester), Linnea Prehn (Macalester), Daniel Meyer (St. Olaf)

Coming in at the end of our list is team number 29, consisting of a strong lineup from some under-the-radar Minnesota programs. While team 29 doesn’t have the same experience in higher-level competitions as some others on this list, don’t count them out based on that alone. Macalester is entering this year’s OLT after one of their stronger seasons in recent memory, leaving Orcs 2-C with a record of 7-5 after a couple of close losses in competitive rounds. That team’s captain, Scotland Kramer, will be competing on Team 29 along with Macalester’s recent all-national witness Linnea Prehn, and we’re excited to see how they both perform in their last collegiate competition. While the team’s 5th member, Daniel Meyer, hails from a less seasoned program than his teammates, he’s picked up his share of invitational awards over his career, and we expect him to be able to fit right in with the Macalester crew. They might be easy to overlook, because Macalester and St. Olaf haven’t had the same type of recent big-time AMTA-season success as other teams represented in this year’s OLT field, but with the right combination of preparation and performance, Team 29 could absolutely be in the position to make some real noise this weekend.
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