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2024 Pre-Season Analysis Empty 2024 Pre-Season Analysis

Mon Aug 28, 2023 4:10 pm
Hello AMTA community!

We at Mock Analysis Is My Drug are extremely excited for the beginning of the AMTA season!

As we do each summer, we put our heads together and made some preseason predictions about which teams look like threats in the coming year. Our aim is to start a discussion about where every program stands and where they’ll go moving forward. Of course, different cases play to certain styles and since the case has not been released we can’t factor that in—but we’d love to see your thoughts about whether it changes anything once it is. This post has 3 parts: (1) our MAIMD top 25 Power Rankings for the upcoming season, (2) a list of individual competitors to look out for, and (3), some predictions for this year’s tournament results.

Everything here is meant to start a discussion. We don’t expect everything we have to be correct or that everyone will agree with us. But we at Mock Analysis Is My Drug hope that you find this post interesting and engaging as we transition into another exciting year of mock trial!

Also, this post was so long that Impeachments wouldn't let us post it, so it's continued in the first few comments.

Top 25 Power Rankings

Mock Analysis Is My Drug is pleased to include our Preseason Top 25 Power Rankings. These rankings were based on a composite of the rankings of all of our contributors, based on our own competitive experiences from previous seasons as well as tab summary analysis and number-crunching. These rankings are meant to reflect overall team power from the very first invitational all the way to the National Championship. We recognize that these types of rankings are inherently subjective.

It’s probably fair to say that no one team in the past decade has come into a season in a more dominant position than the one the UCLA is in for the upcoming #RoadtoChicago. They’ve just engraved their name on the Richard Calkins trophy for a record-tying 5th time. They now hold the longest living streak of NCT appearances, never missing a tournament since the team’s founding in 1998. And as for attrition, they’ve got a B team that was only a few points away from making it an all UCLA final round in Memphis. Any one of those could earn a team the top spot in our preseason rankings, but all 3 at once? There’s no question about it, UCLA A is easily our best guess for the eventual winner of the 2024 national championship.  Although they’re losing the bombastic Final Round open-close duo of Connor Nickson and Emily Spears the Bruins retain 6 members of their championship team, including our picks for both the country’s best middle, Ria Debnath, and the best expert, Jad Soucar. There is, however a big question mark about this year’s UCLA performance: why now? Let’s, as Debnath would put it, take a second and step into the shoes of the old UCLA to see what the magic change between past seasons and this one might have been. On the surface, there isn’t that much that was different for the Bruins in 2023. UCLA was already a team routinely placing at NCT, and quite often placing highly. 2023 caps of a series of third then second than first-place finishes for the Bruins at the best tournament in the nation, so it’s clear this was never a program to sneeze at. With that in mind, it’s easy to dismiss this as simply the cards falling on UCLA’s side. It’s not unusual for a team that is routinely great to eventually get the little bit of luck they need, have some close ballots fall their way, and maybe have a slightly higher talent spike than usual (what’s known as the Virginia strategy). If it had just been UCLA A who had done well this year we might just shrug our analyst shoulders and chalk this spectacular finish up to that. But there was something else in the mix this season that gave us pause–the comparably spectacular finish of UCLA B with second place in their division. One great outcome can sometimes be the result of just good luck but two? Two is the result of something more–a structural change. While we’re not close enough to the Bruins to get the exact right answer, we have a couple compelling hypotheses. Theory one is this is the result of a coaching overhaul. In the last few years they have gone from Gonzalo Freixes at the helm backed by Steven Borello to a program pretty clearly driven by Elizabeth Smiley–who non-west coast people may know as the least insane brunette on the AMTA board. Theory two might be that this is a recorrection, not a rise. In the necessary restructuring all programs went through to come out of the Zoom season, it might have taken a few seasons for UCLA to get their legs back underneath them and perform at their full potential.Theory three is judging preferences–in the shadow of the Bass Pro Shop Pyramid, it’s clear that performance plays pretty well. As much as we love our analysis, we have to admit this is one where really only time can tell. Keep a close eye on the Bruins this season–not just because they’ll stomp you to death if you get in their way back to the Richard Calkins, but because all signs suggest we’re looking at a dynasty that’s going to be sticking around a long, long time.

2. Harvard A
Have we seen this one before? Yes we have. It’s Harvard Mock Trial, back in the final round again. Who at this point can say they’re surprised?  Everyone knows what Harvard can do, including AMTA, who calculated their TPR out to a whopping 60.61. That is the number one ranked school in the country, ladies and gentleman. And if you’re still not sure if that’s their ranking or their tax bracket, all you need to do is take a survey of the talent. We start with Jessica Alexander—seasoned closing attorney and captain, who was in this year’s final round, and the last. She is no stranger to the field, no stranger to an award, and no stranger to a good speech. And did someone say All-American? Because Alexander has two, which only at Harvard is a feat that could ever be overshadowed. Co-captaining last year’s team with Alexander and coming in with the most All-Americans in the field is Harvard’s own Audrey Vanderslice, with a whopping five. Vanderslice, named after the attorney that deposed Casey Koller in 2022, is a force to be reckoned with. We’ll be very straightforward about this: she is currently poised to break the record for most All-Americans in history (by our count is 6, held by Northwood’s Johnathan Hartsfield) and will be using this coming season as her runway to do just that. And on the witnessing front, everything is just as bold. Another rising senior captaining with Alexander is Anant Rajan, and trust us when we say that he’s a class act in his own right. Rajan is the kind of witness that will make you laugh while trying to cross him, yet is equally capable of playing a crying Scottish witness (which trust us–actually happened). He’ll be accompanied by rising talent and All-National witness Dariana Almonte, who also graced the final round as Harvard’s charming southern character witness. The thing is, as much as we credit the “greats” of HMT, this is a program that runs deep. Also featured in the final round was middle attorney Brooke Jones, counsel from Harvard B team this year. Other up-and-coming successes also include Cayla Coleburn, who awarded at regionals. And the reason Harvard was in the final round at all is because of those B team efforts. With the success that they’ve seen, it’s easy to forget that Harvard A did not bid out of ORCs this past Spring. The irony of it is, if this team is in Chicago in April, we have little doubt they are going to the podium and potentially the final round. In a truly strange phenomenon, it’s clear that Harvard’s bigger problem  is going to be getting their ticket to Chicago in the first place. This year it was their B team that managed to go 7-1, emerging from the New Rochelle bloodbath almost completely unscathed. What resulted was an A/B hybrid team that not only made it to the final round, but lent a fresh generation experience in the process. Looking forward to the 2024 season, Harvard has a very bright future. Now of course, it’s not all sunny skies for the Crimson. They will be losing their other Trial by Combat-winning, quintuple-All-American, Travis Harper, to graduation’s cruel embrace. Yes, that will seriously hurt this team, along with losing Fatoumata Ouedrago and Osazi Al Khaliq from A and B combined. But graduating talent is natural to a program this brilliant—like in 2007 when they lost star c team attorney Vivek Ramaswaney. Everyone else is returning, and looking at the talent, this is not a program that will let that stop them. Between their A and B teams this year, Harvard won half of all the attorney awards at Providence regional. Their B team went through the wringer at ORCs and only lost a single ballot. And—at risk of belaboring the point—they made it to the final round. If actions really do speak louder than words, Harvard’s 2022-2023 performance is absolutely deafening.

3. Chicago A
Something is very special about Chicago A. It’s not that they’re over-the-top theatrical like UCLA. Not that they’re not crazy high energy like Harvard. And although they’ve been doing quite a lot of it in the last two years, it’s not even that they win rounds. Chicago is special because they are—by a mile—the most fun team on this list. Sam Farnsworth starts an open kneeling on the floor. Max Fritsch is a chain-smoking cop who laughs at his own direct. Ali Alekri starts statements by bursting into the courtroom and quoting the introduction to Star Wars. Chicago makes big, zany choices. Those choices build momentum. And even though you know, before the round is even over, that you have lost, you are still smiling because Chicago A is just too fun to watch. But for the past three years, the conductor of the fun train has been All-American double threat Ali Alekri. Our membership has seen him sit in the witness chair as an attorney, play blackjack as a witness, and generally frolic around the well as both. Alekri has graduated from Chicago’s 6-person A team roster, leaving just one open spot as the other five return for another year together. Is that a problem? Not necessarily. Chicago is one of the deepest programs in the country right now. Even though Chicago B hasn’t had a standout performance at NCT in recent years, like Tufts or UCLA in 2023 or UVA in 2022, they’re one of the best B teams in the country. For the last three AMTA seasons, they’ve quietly bid to nationals, serving as the incubator for names like Farnsworth, Hsi, and Donovan. You saw what their underclassmen—some of them members of that same B team—did this summer at the Rookie Rumble. Most programs would be quite grateful to have a standout talent like Rookie Rumble closer Elijah Bulie on their roster, let alone the mass of talent necessary to justify rostering him on the B team. So we’re not worried about Chicago’s ability to replace Alekri’s open and his expert-character witness. And between Sam Farnsworth, who narrowly missed out on a spot at the end of this list as one of the top three attorneys in the country, and Juliana Mothersbaugh, our pick for top crier, we’re not worried Chicago will be able to stay among the elite few teams in contention for a final appearance every year—in that respect, they’re actually pretty boring to write about. But Alekri’s exit is salient because we’re curious how much longer Chicago can keep playing their high risk game. Being the most fun team on this list is an exceptional feat–but it’s also the reason they’re definitively in this number three spot, and the reason they’ve lost high-high rounds against our top two when it counted. It isn’t that Chicago’s style isn’t one that wins–like we mentioned earlier, they’re set up to blow a whole bunch of teams out of the water on a steady path up the podium. It’s just that in high-high rounds, we aren’t sure zaniness and fun plays quite as reliably as the restraint higher level teams seem to have. We’d hate to see the mania of Chicago A go, but in his senior year, we’d be surprised if it hadn’t crossed Farnsworth’s mind to tone down the antics just a tad. Who knows though–with the Championship touching down this Spring in the Windy City, maybe the judging pool of this midwest metropolis will be just the audience Chicago A needs to let their A game put them over the top. Time will only tell.

4. Virginia A
Cavaliers? More like c”eh”valiers. Wahoos? More like Wa”who”s. UVA? More like “Poo”VA. These, and many more, are jokes we’ve been stewing on for the past four years as we’ve waited for Virginia Mock Trial to finally stumble off their parapet as the greatest coached program in the land. Granted, a more accurate description might be that rather than watching Marx’s band of merry miscreants stumble, we watched them get unceremoniously kneed in the backside by the steel-toed boots of Elizabeth Smiley and her legions of power-coached perfectly poised A and B teams (with some undignified clowning from the Jumbos and the Fighting Irish along the way). But look, to set the record straight, this team is fantastic. Opener Karen Sun is an unequivocally electric performer who took home a 26-rank All-American last year as a testament to that fact. Returning A team closer Anna Dubnoff has a dynamism and technical skill that reminds a scorer of all-time greats like Sarah Stebbins. Their plaintiff Julian Mosely, despite just leaving his sophomore year, was in conversation for our listing as the greatest crier in the nation. Even their middle, Ainsley Skipper, has found a style that has the spunk and panache to endear midwestern judges to her from the moment she opens her mouth. And the odds in the Cavalier’s favor don’t stop with just their roster. Ryan Falcouner, despite now only being one half of the power couple that ensured UVA was in our final round predictions every year straight, is still arguably the best content writer in the nation—even when he’s only having his band play covers of his greatest hits. So yes, it’s our belief that this team is fantastic. But even so, there’s a distance between ‘fantastic’ and where UVA used to sit on our lists. This team is a tough draw, not a guarantee to end your season early. They’re podium reliables, not final round shoe-ins. The intricately planned mock machine that would have been able to eat younger teams like Tufts B for breakfast is now watching them bite back instead. We chronicled this last year, but some part of the magic formula that used to give us unwavering certainty in UVA’s performance is now in the past. In an era where we increasingly seem to be watching hyper-coached programs bite the dust (it seems that Redhawks are now an endangered species), the Wahoos are an interesting one to follow. They don’t have the staff to pull off the dominance in content and polish they used to, and that approach might pack less of a punch than it did back in 2017. But they’ve sure as hell got enough talent to pull something else together. Don’t count the Wahoos out this season. We might just be seeing a “new”VA in Chicago in 2024(alright, really, we’ll stop).

5. Yale A
Dearest Gentle Reader,

In the vibrant tapestry of the American Mock Trial Association’s' high society, a formidable adversary reigns supreme—the esteemed Yale Mock Trial Team. Yale seems imbued with an inexhaustible wellspring of rejuvenation. As one competitor departs the stage, a legion of ten more stands poised to take their place. To list the names of their accredited alumni and their former laurels would take more space than our writeups have: so suffice it to state the chronicle of Yale unfolds as a perpetually verdant reservoir of talent. No exhaustive analysis is required to recognize luminaries such as the All-American Attorney, Quinn Moss, and the All-National witnesses, José Sarmiento and Fanney Bjargardóttir. Nor should the celestial personas of Everett Parker-Noblitt, Tacey Hutton, and Madeline Levin be overlooked; they basked in the glory of accolades from premier gatherings in the previous season, their brilliance undeniable. This cast of characters comprised the vanguard of Yale's 'A' team.

Yet as the time comes for us to place our bets for the upcoming social season, we must wonder if the newest cast of celebrities can match the diamonds of past seasons. As we all know, the brighter a team shines, the faster they burn. There are many teams who have succeeded consistently, year after year, with tried and true methods. Yale’s recent performance invites us all to examine whether their penchant for tearing down the old has led them to give up their erstwhile supremacy. After all, a Yale failure to make a final round for three years running is nothing short of a scandal for that program. Even a casual observer might argue that their footing is uncertain, given this trajectory.

There is however hope for this program to avoid the dreadful, dismal position known as a has-been:  the ensemble they presented in the season of 2022-23 was imbued with youth. Whispers abound about the fledgling nature of this assembly, give rise to legitimate apprehensions in their future competitors. Much like a seasoned gambler drawn to a dependable horse at the races, one can never go amiss by placing a wager on Yale's triumph. And wager we certainly shall.

Yours Truly,
Lady Whistledown MAIMD

6. Tufts A
Alright, you’ve got us–we’re finally done driving the Tufts bandwagon. After years of betting on the Jumbos for a final appearance, and years of watching them just fall short, we finally watched them end with a finish that was a hell of a lot worse than just being ‘close.’ Tufts A’s success streak these past few seasons came to a screeching halt in April: no podium appearance after 2 consecutive second place finishes. This was, after all, something of a rebuilding year for the Jumbos: after losing most of their A team members, their roster this past year was young, with new and unestablished names joining the two A team returners Fatima Lawan and Margaret Veglahn. Now, they find themselves in a similar, if less drastic, position. Lawan, a two-time All-American jack-of-all-trades, is gone. So why do we have Tufts ranked so highly? Their youth movement. Their B team redeemed their A team’s NCT performance—and quite possibly their top 10 spot in our preseason rankings—with a 6th place podium appearance. 2023 marked Tufts B’s second straight placement at NCT, Tufts’ 6th consecutive year earning a to the NCT, and—while it didn’t quite end the way they wanted it—cemented their place in the upper echelons of collegiate mock trial. They did it with a remarkably young roster: freshmen Aidan Connors and Seamus Gallagher both earned All-National awards in New Rochelle (as an attorney and witness, respectively), and should be formidable competitors for Tufts for the next several years. In all likelihood, they’ll join some of Tufts A’s remaining competitors: Cole Reese, Ian Carson, and Wesley Jansen—to form a young core of members that have a massive amount of NCT experience but still have their best mock trial days ahead of them. And leading the team, of course, will be Veglahn, who competed at TBC this past year and will be entering her senior season this fall. Veglahn’s longevity on the national stage is almost unmatched. She is as crisp, unshakeable, and lethal as they come, and she’ll be looking to wrap up her career with one final trophy. But is the Richard Calkins trophy something Tufts can realistically aspire to this year? We’re not sure. They play a strong, fun style with big witness portrayals and a wide variety of cross examination techniques. Their content often manages to check both the style and substance boxes. But it’s hard to argue with their results at NCT: the losses to Yale and Irvine don’t paint a picture of a team that’s going to steamroll that round three matchup to make it through. For the first time in a long time, we have doubts. But in any case, this will be a make or break year for Tufts. For a program that has never been in a final round, Tufts has had a significant influence on the way mock trial has been played these past three or four years. They have been a juggernaut, and they can continue to be one. Let’s see if they rise to the challenge and prove us wrong just when we’ve started to count them out.

7. Hillsdale A
Hey—here’s a fresh face. Not only is this Hillsdale’s first appearance in our top ten, it’s their first time in our top 25 at all. This past season the Chargers…charged through the wild, wild midwest left by the collapse of the former powerhouses like the Miami’s RIPhawks to cement themselves as not just NCT attendees, but actual final-round contenders. This is no small potatoes. It’s rare we get new names to talk about in these pre-season shoutouts, and even rarer that we mention them this high in our rankings. Perhaps to their chagrin, this crop of charger comrades represent a revolution of previously established mock hierarchy–or mock class, if you will. They’re the biggest big break that raises the question of whether the old-money favorites are really the best places to be placing your bets. The fact that Hillsdale sits just one position beneath our erstwhile favorites Tufts is a testament to that fact—with returning almost the entirety of their A team and looking forwards to a midwestern NCT, Hillsdale is teed up for what could be a monumental season for them. We’re not just putting our eggs in this basket because the metaphor is fun–there’s also a fair case to be made about how solid this roster is. Their star attorney Abigail Davis is a firecracker with a fault–while she has the performative energy and dynamism that makes her compelling to watch, she’s not always the cleanest or sharpest with wielding the rules of evidence. Their token leading-man white boy opener (a role that this year is filled by Caleb Sampson) has the opposite problem. As an attorney, he’s as clean and sharp as can be, but with a degree of near-inhuman polish that makes him come off at times like a robot trained to do mock trial. Their frontman witness, Konrad Verbaarshot, is incomparably friendly and likable–and if you think that isn’t a testament to his abilities you can take it up with his award shelf. Rounding out the standouts on the roster is first-year Abigail Wagner, an expert with such a clinical grasp of the case materials that she found herself bumped up to the A team this fall to be a part of their revolutionary run. And that’s just our short list of names–there are others, like expert Curtis Herbert and crier Allison Dillow who’ve endeared judges enough with their style that they too could easily justify a mention here. In short, Hillsdale’s a strange team. They’re not the not-quite-competitive nobodies from the midwest anymore. Instead, they’re a team that’s clearing a track to make a name for themselves in a way we haven’t seen in a while on the AMTA circuit. To be honest–we’re excited to see it. To paraphrase a lesser-known man by the surname Marx: (Think Ethan, but hairier): “Let AMTA’s ruling classes tremble at a TPR revolution. The mid-level mockers have nothing to lose but their chains. Mockers of all regions, unite!”

8. Patrick Henry A
Another year, another column praising Sue Johnson and her ragtag (read: extremely well-coiffed) band of pretend-lawyers. To be fair, Patrick Henry College really makes you dig for it—no cute Canva graphics for new members on Instagram, no smiling, suit-wearing headshots with award lists on the website—but we here at Mock Analysis is My Drug don’t back down from a challenge. PHC will, inevitably, be good: despite their small student body, their expert team of genius-coaches and sharp upperclassmen always seems to churn out a team (if not two) that will cut through the competition like an intelligent and creative metaphor cuts through the analytical genius of a MAIMD writeup. All that being said, we’ve never seen this well-oiled machine hoist the Calkins trophy above their head. Are the lesser trophies just enough for them? Are the people of Patrick Henry Mock Trial simply content to sit among their pile of individual awards, top ten finish trophies, bid trophies, and invitational trophies (cue worlds tiniest violin)? Might come as a shock, but we don’t think that’s the case. The truth is, they’ll impress judges with their confidence and polish, and they’ll go on to fill a statistically unlikely number of jobs in DC when they graduate, but they’ve historically missed the edge that puts them above the rest of the field. Their coaches remain the same, as far as we can tell, so we don’t expect PHC to make any drastic style changes. What they do works: they’ve continually qualified two teams for Nats, which is impressive to do once, let alone three years running. However, there is a sliver of difference and a smidgen of flair (which might suggest newfound greatness) rising through the PHC underclassmen. At the forefront of the Vanguard of the Revolution is All-National Trinity Klomparens, wildly funny character witness and sharp, clean attorney. We’re focused on Klomparens’ off the wall character bits here, not her attorney skill (shout out recent Rookie Rumble attorney award, though). Her willingness to throw curveballs at crossing attorneys and make jokes that teeter on the edge of too far for court might just be the edge PHC needs to finally claw their way from very, very good to truly, unequivocally, go-down-in-mock-film-nerd-history great. To be clear, one team member alone does not a National Championship make—the existence of Klomparens as a prominent witness on PHC A suggests an institutional willingness to push the boundary. Is it far enough to waltz into that final round? Only time can tell. So let’s take stock: character witness that pushes the boundaries and brings some excitement, check. Star-studded and well-respected team of coaches, check. Returning upperclassmen with talent and experience in spades (hi, Caleb Knox! hi, Calvin Huh), check. That’s not to mention charismatic, natural, and relaxed opener Lauren Rule, who’s entering her senior year poised to take home hardware all across the country. Point is, PHC is going to be good. Sure, they’ll miss Allyn Sims’ sobbing, and Silas Landsverk’s steadfast trustworthiness (both in terms of witness portrayals), but we expect they’ll have the new talent to fill their shoes. They’ll make it to Nationals. Probably two of their teams will make it to Nationals. Maybe one of them will come out on top.

9. Georgia A
Every team in AMTA has a different philosophy on what it takes to win. UVA might tell you to plan every action you take in every possible scenario down to the way you move your pinky finger. Chicago may say the path to victory is creative content writing that catches teams off guard. UCLA might advise you to perform everything like you’re a career actor on their very final show. But if you ask this humble MAIMD writer what it takes to win, I’d wink and tell you the secret is having fun. Granted, this is a goal that’s easier said than done. If you’re getting up at 7 AM for a round just for a scorer to tell you “great job asking leading questions on cross,” it might be hard to find the joy in what you’re doing. But if you take a look at our lists, it’s easy to see that teams that can keep up the energy and smiles while enduring the pressure of a high level tournament are typically the teams that do the best. If there is any team that exemplifies that (perhaps outside of the above-mentioned Phoenixes of Chicago), it's UGA. Whether you hear the bulldogs barking at closing ceremonies or jamming to hype songs before trial, they know how to keep the electricity flowing. And look what the good vibes have gotten them: 5th place at GAMTI, an honorable mention at GCFI after several -1 ballots, and a 3rd and 7th  place finish at the NCT these last two years. Do they have the personnel to back the charisma? Survey says they do. Bryan Walker and Katie Gilk make for a dynamite statement duo and we’re sure they’ll continue to pull margins come this season. After all, Walker was just shy of TBC semi-finals this year so we are sure he’s going into his senior season hungry for the victory he was just-short of last year. On the other side of the well you’ve got a Gauntlet of star witnesses in Ryan Varma–the top ranked witness this year at GCFI–and Frenchmen extraordinaire Ronan Leudet de la Vallée. Now if you’ve been competing in the activity for a little bit, you might know you need more than 4 competitors to make a team. This is where things get dicey. Georgia A is losing their party reps and one of the most clever attorneys on the circuit in Justin Xu.  And in terms of up and coming talent, a B team going 3-5 at ORCS isn’t outstanding. That said, Rookie Rumble has shown the next generation of Bulldogs are threats in their own right. Ashley Rosica awarded while competing with a Georgia Tech squad and Grace Lorys placed 4th alongside teammates from UCLA. Of course, as us MAIMD analysis are wont to do, we aren’t without our criticisms here. UGA has a track record of being a little too much Mock and not enough Trial. The flash and theatrics can be a bit much for certain judges. But DANGIT will this team entertain. Their charm has carried them to the 9th on our preseason rankings, and we reckon their ability to attract a spotlight in round will bring them back to the podium come April. Who knows? With a touch of luck and the right judging pool, we might even see them queued up for a round five.

10. UC Irvine A
What a monster of a season for the anteaters amiright? Beach Party runner up, 5 All-National Awards, a 4th place division finish at Nats all topped off with Josiah Jones putting in the absolute work at TBC. If you’ve had the honor of losing ballots to his crew, you know they earned their success this year. All that’s left to ask is whether or not the Jones/Darwish/Shaw trio that took Memphis and Philly and the whole world by storm can keep up the momentum. Because at first glance, it might seem like the burden rests solely on their shoulders. Double siding an entire team at the NCT can be brutal, and those wounds hurt deeper in the fall after 4 of the 6 graduate. No more Antonyan, Srikanthan, Ryan and Chang means its rebuilding time for the Anteaters. Unfortunately, they might have to look a little harder than most teams. If you’re stacking an A team and every single attorney but one graduated, where do you look? B team bench. There you have some issues. It’s not just the heavily awarded A team roster leaving Irvine this year, but B team statementers Amy Wong and Hughmungus as well. There’s no question rebuilding will be a focus this fall, but despite these heavy losses, we are willing to bet Irvine still has a standout year. For starters, there are some hidden gems we expect to make the jump up to A. In terms of witnessing, All-Regional, All-National performer Sophia Hobby as well as Kyla Kowalewski are promising candidates to make Darwish a little less lonely on the stand. In terms of being on the bench with Jones, we’d keep an eye out for Charlie Arias. A powerhouse closer on B team this year, we think his style would compliment well next to Jones. Any team can have competent competitors, but what makes Irvine standout and what will make perfecting an A team roster a lot easier is versatility. Having the TBC finalist is basically a cheat code. Jones can open, close, witness, and execute on just about any kind of exam you give him. Darwish is a contender to run the Gauntlet of witnessing from experts to defendants to characters (and if needed, a 20 rank Mocktopia award as a middle attorney suggests he could step up on the bench as well). Irvine won’t need to lookout for specific competitors to fill niches, they can pick strong candidates and then adapt around what works. Flexibility with roles served their A team incredibly well this last year, and we are willing to bet they can do it again. No one has to be type casted. There is no need for a Shaw-Shank Redemption, this team has proved what they can do. All that is left is reminding the country of that in the courtroom.

Last edited by MockAnalysisIsMyDrug on Mon Aug 28, 2023 4:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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2024 Pre-Season Analysis Empty Re: 2024 Pre-Season Analysis

Mon Aug 28, 2023 4:11 pm
11. Michigan A
Take a moment and travel forward a few months in time. It’s December— and that means crisp winter air, Christmas music in department stores (this writer thinks so, but has not been in a department store in years and isn’t sure what a department store is anyway), increasingly dangerous winter storm warnings, and unstacked Michigan mock trial teams cutting through the best A and B teams in the country. Forget about that last bit? We sure haven’t. First weekend in December last year, one unstacked Michigan squad took 6th at the Yale Invitational. That in and of itself is highly impressive, given that Yale expanded its field to approximately 3,000 teams for the 2022-2023 season— Michael Sean Wilson was practically wading through the competition just to walk down the hallway. But that’s not all: the same weekend, another unstacked team from the Mitten State (did you know this was a Michigan nickname? This writer did not) managed to rise to the top of the field at CUBAIT, above teams like Tufts A, Harvard A, and Maryland A. Sure, they didn’t face those teams head on, but after wiping the floor with an Iona team (that dropped two ballots to the bye-busters), the Wolverines had to conquer Emory A, Brown A, and UVA A to claw their way to the top of the pile. And that one weekend wasn’t particularly standout. Michigan took the top of the tab summary at pretty much every pre-stack invitational they attended this fall, including CWRU’s Spartan Throwdown, Boston College’s Mockathon, and Northwestern’s Mock at the Rock–just to name a few. For a student run program, it’s clear that the wolverines have a near-unparalleled ability to hit the ground running and start their season strong. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always translate to long term success. Michigan usually crops up on our lists as our perpetual end-of-season disappointment–a team that by all accounts really should have been in the field of our top 48, but due to some weird splits fell short of a bid. This year was the first time in a long time they’ve managed to buck that trend with their A team, and this placement is a statement of cautious optimism about their odds of keeping that turn of good fortune going. There’s no bones about it: Michigan A’s path back to the NCT podium will be a difficult one. They’ll be suffering a massive loss in Trial By Combat semifinalist and All-American double threat Michael Sean Wilson, as well as A team captain and dynamo opener Noor Khan. But the dream team isn’t gone forever. Triplicate Michigan A captain and AMTA’s most adorable boy, Gordy Gwilt, will be returning for his senior year, and we expect he’ll be looking to top off a career with an All-American attorney award and double-digit tournament placements in the only way one can: a ticket to the final round and a TBC invite for himself. The crew he’s got left to do it is nothing to sneeze at either. Michigan A is a program that breeds double threats, and with players like Lucy Brock, Roni Kane, and Will Akis having the possibility of popping up in the well or in the stand, it’s clear this team isn’t becoming any less threatening of a draw any time soon. We’ll see if this past season was a fluke, or if these Wolverines have finally figured out how to keep up the success right through the end of their season.

12. UCLA B
In the 5 years that MAIMD has been doing preseason analysis, this is the highest that a B team has ever placed. Now in those five years, there have been plenty of B teams that placed top 5 at Nationals or made our top 25, but this UCLA team is unique because there’s a very good chance that UCLA B of 2023 will be similar to the UCLA B of 2024. As you (probably) read earlier, UCLA A is our national champion and returns six of their eight members. But the B team is almost in the exact same boat. This set of Bruins placed second in their division and will also return six of their eight members. That's 12 members who not only competed at nationals, but placed top 2 in their division. Even if they wanted to, UCLA couldn’t put all of them on the same team next year. At a minimum, two of these competitors (and most likely more than two) are going to be stacked on UCLA B next year. That stat alone makes this B team more threatening than a good amount of A teams on the circuit. So who might be on this UCLA B team? It really could be anyone. UCLA has five All-American character witnesses in Sulaymaan Ali, Adithi Rao, and Emma Rose Maloney returning from A and Nasier Muldrow and Arneet Gurtatta from B. Add on 20 Rank Regionals and Rookie Rumble Awardee Kole Alfonso and that’s 6 character witnesses fighting for one of those A team spots. We expect we’ll be seeing at least one of them rostered on B next year. Attorneys are a touch trickier to predict. There's two openings on A’s bench that come from Connor Nickson and Emily Spears graduating, but  B team attorneys who might be asked to step up.  Closers Dylan Balassi and Nasier Muldrow as well as opener Drew Ashlock have all won their share of awards this year and could all end up on A or as star members of B. But besides those A and B members, the future looks bright for UCLA. At Rookie Rumble, they fielded three teams of people who were on their C, D and E team and all three placed, one of which placed runner up in the tournament. Hannah Le, Abygale Kim, Urja Gathoo, Sophia Leddy, Fiona Sweet and Lydia Faris all took home awards, and if the career of our best middle in the country Ria Debnath is any indication, an appearance in the Rookie Rumble final round can mean big things for a competitor’s career at UCLA. You can also look out for All Regional Attorneys Alice Gao, and Alexi Melki as well as All Regional Witnesses Sophie Suh, Meghna Nair, and Jane Shen as potential people to be pulled up to B. All in all, we can’t tell you much about what this team’s roster is going to look like next fall–in fact we probably know less than we do about any other team on this list–but we can promise that no matter who winds up as a Bruin B teamer next fall, they’re going to be packing one hell of a punch.

13. UC Berkeley A
The sun has set on an incredible era of Berkeley Mock Trial. The team we’d dubbed the Sosa Squad has graduated some real powerhouses. The Kamalnathans, Patels, and Sosa’s of the world are moving on to bigger and better things. They were some of the last remnants of that 2022 Berkeley squad that earned its way to a 5th place finish in Lancaster. Unfortunately for them, their huge win at GCFI didn’t lead to the same results at ORCS. The 2023 rendition of Berkeley A fell victim to the Santa Monica Slaughterhouse, finishing with 5.5 wins and a CS just short of being enough to earn a bid to NCT, marking the end of several outstanding careers. And as the West Coast mock trial circuit breathes a collective sigh of sadness (and relief), we here at MAIMD are here to remind you that the Bears of Berkeley will be stellar once again. Much to the chagrin of everyone who will hit Berkeley this upcoming year, the name that is not on that departed list is Chris Ying. An All-American witness in 2022, sympathy extraordinaire, and dynamite defense closer, Ying is a TBC level talent that we expect to be the cornerstone of Berkeley A next year. Anchoring the team alongside Ying, expect to see All-National awardee Darius Parakh and a guaranteed charming and fun character witness in Cassidy Holtzapple. Now when most programs’ A teams don’t bid to nationals, that marks the end of their season. But that’s not the case for Berkley. The Bears of B earned a bid to NCT, and with a couple of notable additions, that was the team you saw in Memphis. We don’t know who from that group will make the jump to A, but one thing is for certain. They all now have nationals level experience. Some folks we’ll be keeping our eyes on to potentially fill those spots are a pair of all regional awardees in Paige Barrella and Rachel Raps. To top off their roster potential, we also know that the Bears have a steady hand at the helm. While they tend to be overshadowed by the dominance of Smiley just a few hours south, Berkeley’s coaching staff is a well oiled machine that know how to keep reloading their talent. We’ll see if they pull that off once again this spring. If history is any indicator, these Bears won’t be hibernating when AMTA season rolls around. (You didn’t think we’d go a FULL writeup with no bear puns did you?)  

14. Wisconsin A
A good coach once told this writer that winning and losing are, unfortunately, both essential parts of mock trial. For every breathtaking, joyous adrenaline surge, a competitor will eventually experience an equal amount of stress, frustration and sadness. This duality is the story of Wisconsin A as they head into the 2023-24 season. Most dedicated readers will remember Wisconsin surging into relevance in the 2021-22 season, bidding to the Lancaster NCT despite having a TPR in the 200s. Those same readers will remember how that team, led by training doll for hairstylists Jackson Kunde, cruised through invitationals in the 2022-23 season, placing second at Mumbo Jumbo and fourth at Great Chicago Fire. This was an exceptionally good mock trial team—which is why when the results from the Des Moines regional were sent out, most people couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Wisconsin A didn’t make it out—and because of the program’s stacking policies, didn’t take the bids gained by thier other team. Their season was over. In the wake of that, the Wisconsin program has made some changes; you’ll notice, for example, that not once in this writeup have we yelled at you about how Wisconsin is An UnStAcKeD PrOgRaM. It’s because they’re not anymore—this year, Wisconsin A will be a true A team, stacked with the talent that didn’t just get their de facto A team to Lancaster in 2022, but also got their de facto B team to Memphis in 2023. There are some certainties about this new variation of Wisconsin A. Barring the existence of an Avengers level threat, the team will undoubtedly feature Kunde, entering his third year of college with a Trial By Combat bid guaranteed for next summer. The team will also likely feature Kunde’s TBC second chair and Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt Lauren Stoneman, as well as witnessing standouts like 2023 All-American Alexandra Webb. The talent required to contend for a National Championship will be there—but what will set this Wisconsin team apart from variations past (note: other than the fact that tHeY aRe StAcKeD nOw) is that this team has lost. Together, the members of Wisconsin A suffered a shocking setback in an incredible season—one large enough to change the mindset of any competitor. This team is going to make sure that every round they walk into has no surprises and no room for error. The Badgers are going to march towards the competitive season with one goal: the final round, a championship, and lasting proof that Des Moines was an error unlike any other.

15. Florida A
There are few things inescapable in life: birth, death, and if you’re unfortunate enough to compete in the southeast, the image of students gator-chomping their way to the stage to take the trophy you’ve been coveting all weekend. Armed with some of the most potent school spirit and team comradery in AMTA, Florida’s family-style environment seems to enable unrivaled development (and maintenance) of young talent. Don’t believe us? Take one look at UF’s social presence and you’ll immediately find yourself as green with envy as a gator. Make sure to be on the lookout for “four teams, four bids” while you’re there. Though recently reduced in number, this calling card for the University of Florida’s program is a recurring mantra, and, at this point, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Surely if the Litigators (which fyi is the best name in mock) say it enough times or slap it onto enough posts, the words will be codified into law. Have any doubts? Well it’s a plan that seems to be working so far. For the third year in a row, Florida watched every team they sent to regionals in 2023 leave with a trophy, for a grand sum of 14 bids in 3 years. Florida is easily the deepest team on this list, having 19 of their individual competitors win awards at some point in the past season, with a staggering 12 of those competitors returning for the 2023-2024 case. Don’t worry, the team hardware isn’t lacking either. Whether it be Toro, Ramblin’, or any of the half dozen southern tournaments with some combination of “city” and “classic” in their name (special shoutout to City Classic), UF collected a shiny piece of metal from nearly every southeastern powerhouse gauntlet last year. Oh, and did we mention they sent two teams to Nats? But this is where we begin to wonder just how long the litigators can maintain their tear of success. While Florida’s A team ended their run in Memphis with a respectable (but still underwhelming) record of 6-6, their B team seemingly got dunked on in the BPJ division by teams who didn’t even place in the top ten, ending at a record of 3-7-1. Couple this with the loss of All-Americans Brandon McKay and Jennifer LaRue as well as the king of invitationals, Nathan Heastie, and we’re just not sure how bright the sunshine state looks to be in the future. But on the edge of the dark clouds that may be rolling in over Gainesville comes a glimmer of light in the form of two freshmen standouts: Tess Segal, triple award-winning witness, and Jaydan Adjodha, all-region and all-National attorney. We also hope to see fan favorites such as Davit Ott rise to fill these seemingly-monumental holes in the roster. Either way, no matter how stormy it may look, it seems inescapable that Florida will emerge in the spring with another rainbow.

16. Georgetown A
Georgetown A comes in at a polarizing 16. On paper, this is far too low coming off a year where they placed third in their division, are returning an All-American Attorney and captain, Adam Hamdan, and by TPR are the 9th best team in the country. So how did they drop to 16 for us? Let’s say our pre-season prediction was erratic at best. Some of our members had them in the top 10, but some others dropped them out of the top 20, one going as low as putting them in the 30’s. And there’s a reason for that. Up until this year, Georgetown has typically been a NCT attendee, not an NCT performer. They show up, maybe take home an All-American or two, and then slink home without stepping onto the podium. This was the fourth year in a row they competed at Nationals and they had never done better than an honorable mention. 3.5/12, 5/12, 4/16, 8/16.  Then this year they come and not only place, but completely blow us out of the water by snagging ballots off some very successful teams, Splitting with Chicago A, splitting with Indiana, and sweeping Fordham Lincoln Center–when you bear in mind that those are teams that either placed this year or consistently get to nationals, you have to admit that the Bulldogs had a productive trip to Memphis. So here we are, tasked to figure out how Georgetown A will do next year. And we have to admit, we’re dissenting here. Some of our analysts see this season as a turning point, but some of us are just as ready to brush it off as a fluke. At the end of the day there’s a group of about 10 people who one way or another will be tasked with making up our minds: Adam Hamdan and his crew. Outside of their returning All-American, Georgetown A this year is going to include 2022 All-National Attorney Matt Shin who helped lead Georgetown’s C team to their NCT appearance in Lancaster. While Shin and Hamdan make up the talent, they’re not the only one who are queued up to do quite well this season. According to our semi-successful instagram stalking, only three of the nine members of Georgetown A who excelled in Memphis will be graduating–meaning this team has the foundation to repeat their success. We’ll see if Georgetown has what it takes to clear up any doubts on our end.

17. Emory A
This is the year that Emory proves if they’re a top tier program or just a good program. Prior to 2017, Emory was a good program. They would compete at ORCS, sometimes get a bid to Nationals, sometimes not. If they did get to Nationals, they wouldn’t place. But in 2017 they finally broke through, not only getting to nationals, but placing 8th while there and for the next few years, they became one of the most reliably high-level programs in the south. Two teams to nationals in 2019 and 2021, placing 4th in 2021, 6th in 2019, honorable mention in 2018–the lEagles started building themselves a really illustrious legacy. Going into 2022 nationals, we had them as a team we thought could win the whole thing. But they didn’t. They didn’t even place. So going into last year we were curious to see if they return to the 2021 level where they were placing 4th in contention for the final round–or whether their disappointment in 2022 was a sign of a turn for the worse. It was more the latter. This past year, they earned an honorable mention, which–while certainly good—isn’t what we would call elite. So now we have to ask ourselves, is the 2017-2021 era over? It’s difficult to say. They’ve graduated almost everyone on that 2021 team. After two years of not placing, we’re not as confident that they’ll be able to this year. You might be reading this asking yourself, “Well alright Ms. Maimd, after all that doom and gloom, why would you have them at 17? 17th in the country is still pretty damn good. ” and to that we’d say you’re right–catastrophizing about legacy aside, Emory will in all likelihood be pretty damn good. Despite graduating TBC competitor Danielle Jacoby, they return almost everyone from the team that competed in Memphis including opener extraordinaire Guyberson Pierre, Rookie Rumble awardee Hadley Bryant and the only remaining member of that 2021 team, Saanya Kapasi. And the spots that they need to fill will come from a competent B team that went 5-3 in Arlington, almost joining their A team this past year. Specifically look out for B team closer Aja Moore, who we think has a good shot to fill Jacoby’s shoes. We’re confident that they’ll be in Chicago come April and while we’re not sure if they can win the whole thing, we expect them to put up one hell of a fight to be on that podium once again.

18. Northwestern A
“9th in their division in 2018, 9th again in 2019, 10th in 2021, and 8th in 2022. Any one of these placements would be a dream come true for most teams. But all four of them in a row? We have to begin to wonder whether or not these placements are becoming a bit of a nightmare for Northwestern, a team that can never quite break through. Sure, suffering from success isn’t a bad thing, and the Wildcats should be proud to note that the only other team who rivals their current streak of top-ten Nationals placements is Yale. But when you earn nearly the same placement for 5 consecutive years and even your Rookie Rumble team is coming in 9th, you’ve got to start wondering if you’re cursed. So will 2023 be the year that a trophy with a 7, 6, or even a lower number makes its way back to Evanston?” That’s a quote from last year’s preseason write up and members of impeachments, it’s still accurate today. After a 10th place finish in Memphis, Ninthwestern is alive and well. But there’s hope yet. After all, this was the closest Northwestern has been to making the final round. Their round 4 was the high high matchup versus eventual champion UCLA where they went -1, -2, -5. This team is clearly a strong one and one we think can do well again next year. They’re returning All-American Attorney Claire Foltz, double All National Attorney Shawn Liang and All-Regional Witness, Rand Meyer. We expect Northwestern to be competing at NCT in Chicago this year and who knows, maybe with a hometown advantage they can even find their way ito break that ever-present 9th place curse.

19. Wash U St. Louis A
One must imagine Sisyphus as a collegiate mock trial competitor. Each year he fights through the preseason, hands over his hard-earned boodle to attend some tournament named “Mumbo Jumbo.” He lives through regionals, survives ORCS, and powers through nationals, only to see Harvard make yet another final round, and watch the boulder roll back down the hill. Just like every other team, the University of Washington, St. Louis finds itself at the bottom of that hill with a long season ahead of them. But over the last few years, WashU has shown it can endure the highs and lows of collegiate mock trial. Three years ago in 2021, the team narrowly missed nationals. The next year, their A team missed nationals again, yet were saved when their B team took the last bid out of Cedar Rapids. And last year, they slid through ORCS with ease but lost close rounds at nationals and didn’t place. Throughout these seasons WashU has secured itself as a consistent national-level team, but we have yet to see them in contention for a final round. However, with a young, yet experienced team this season, this could be their year. Last year, Zach “Z-Dawg” Stern was the only person to graduate from the Bear’s nationals team. Sure, that’s a big loss not only for WashU, but also for the freshman on your team who will inevitably watch the 2016 final round, fall in love with Dan Stern, and be UNABLE to meet his younger, much cooler, brother. But the Stern BoysTM aside, it's likely that every other member of WashU’s nationals team will be coming back. That includes consistent talent such as all-national attorney Elijah Weisman, gut-wrenching all-national witness Daniella Resch, and double threat Lucy “needs no introduction” Demsky. Also returning from their nationals team is their middle attorney and rising sophomore William Choi. Along with the many returning national members, the Bears have some promising talent from their B team, like all-nationals attorney Gavin Cohen. With this sizzling lineup, be prepared for WashU to do some real damage in the early season, and even more come competitive season.

20. Boston A
Boston University is a program that has been quite consistent at nationals over the last few years. They make it every year and tend to perform respectably, leaving with no more with an honorable mention or a low placement. If you’re looking for a comparison, just think of them as Northwestern’s slightly less successful cousin.  Every year we start to worry around ORCS that this will be the year they fall through.  They aren’t as flashy or as technical as the Northeast powers that surround them. They don’t have the polish you might expect from a team that perennially pulls through at ORCS. They play safe, standard strategies and make safe, standard objections. It seems that they rely on material they’ve had all season to perfect, rather than having more flexible content. Every year we think those faults will be what hold them up, but year after year we’re proven wrong. Somehow they always do pull through though, even if it takes some luck on the open bid list (as it did last year when they failed to earn a direct bid from regionals). But this year, there’s hope that Boston A outperforms their typical consistency and does something more…exciting. The pieces are already in place. Over the course of the AMTA season, their A team took four different awards spread among three non-graduating competitors, including two All-Americans. Those numbers are good–it’s clear that is the team that has the talent they need to be excellent if they develop it right. But frustratingly enough, it seems that we  will have no idea if they are going to succeed on that trajectory until the last minute. Almost as consistent as their nationals placements is their difficulty competing at the higher-end invites. They routinely walk away from invitationals with losing records after playing a caliber of teams that they will defeat easily later in the season. So keep an eye on BU in the fall and be on the look out for the names that might carry them to their next national appearance–and keep in mind not to be lulled into a false sense of security if you don’t see much until March.

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2024 Pre-Season Analysis Empty Re: 2024 Pre-Season Analysis

Mon Aug 28, 2023 4:12 pm
21. Notre Dame A
Here at Stock Analysis Is My Drug, we know who you think of when you think of Notre Dame Mock Trial. Whether it's the dark hair, piercing eyes, or attention to minute detail, this mocker has transformed Notre Dame Mock Trial. No, it’s not VOGUE cover model Charlie Stock (although he’s pretty good as well)—it’s Henry Leaman, who has transformed Notre Dame’s program since becoming a coach in 2019. Prior to 2019, Notre Dame had not made a nationals appearance since 2015, but after Leaman took the reins coaching their A team, Notre Dame has received a bid to nationals three of the last four years (Geneva in 2020, Cedar Rapids in 2022, and Geneva again in 2023). This run culminated in Notre Dame’s first nationals placement in recent memory, reaching the podium at 9th place. All of that is to say that the story of Notre Dame A is a story of a historic rise—and the questions surrounding this team this year are not whether they will continue that climb, but how. Let’s not sugar-coat the obvious: Notre Dame has a lot of people who can compete for a very limited number of A team spots. Newly minted program president Charlie Stock will undoubtedly be leading this team into the upcoming season, along with character witness and honorary New Jersey native Isabella Leak—but these may be the only locks. There are any number of people who could fill the remaining positions. These include standout freshman James Loudenslager (who was on the 2022-23 iteration of Notre Dame A) and senior Ella Cain (who competed on the 2021-22 iteration of Notre Dame A and won an All-National Attorney award as a freshman). Outside of those who have already competed with Notre Dame A, competitors like Stock’s TBC second chair Theodora Ciobanu and Rookie Rumble standout Nolan Reddy are preparing to finally make the push towards A. However, as this team has gotten stronger, it has also gotten closer to a very difficult growing pain. Leaman notably does not coach Notre Dame in person—he coaches via Zoom from a different state. To reach the pinnacle of this activity, the hours become extreme and grueling; indeed, they become so difficult to put in that to do so over Zoom may be impossible. If Notre Dame and Leaman continue to put the time in, the rise may continue—if they become complacent, then there may be heartbreak waiting in March.

22. Ohio State A
Now the story of a prestigious program who lost everything…and one mocker who had no choice but to keep them all together. It’s Ohio State Mock Trial…in Arrested Development. Like all our best puns, this bit has a kernel of truth to it. In 2020, we were looking to Ohio State as a young, up-and-coming program with a lot of potential to make a break into the top of the NCT podium. But three years later, we find ourselves feeling like a little bit of a broken record. Sure they’re still young, still talented, still full of potential—but in three years we’ve yet to see them muster anything higher than an even record at NCT and a tiptoe onto the podium with their Honorable Mention this past spring. You can only watch a team sit at the same level for so long before you have to ask yourself—is this a team that’s stuck in a cycle of being good, but never pushing into great? Has this up-and-coming powerhouse’s development been somehow…arrested? Like the Bluths, the Buckeye family finds themselves held together by a prodigal son named Michael—in their case, Michael Ragnone. If you run into Ragnone at a tournament, feel free to give him a referral to any good chiropractors you know, because we expect at this point in his career he’s experiencing some back pain. While it would be a genuine disservice to say that Ragnone has carried OSU Mock Trial—they’ve been a talented ensemble cast for a good number of years now—it is fair to say that there’s no one left who’s been a part of carrying the mantle for quite as long as he has. Ragnone will be entering his fourth year as leader of Ohio State A this fall, and we expect it to be a performance akin to that of Jason Bateman—a disgruntled straight man surrounded by an absolutely maniacal ensemble cast. Because going pound for pound, these Buckeyes have about as much absurdity as the Bluths. They’ve got absolute breakout star attorney Jonathan “the cornballer” Hubbard, whose statements have all the heat of a fire sale. They’ve got GAMTI-award winning Hana El Nemr and Abby Cohen, a pair of criers who Maeby among the very best on the circuit right now. They’ve got returning opener Drew Polito, who has all the charisma and sex appeal of Michael Cera. But brand-new shiny talent isn’t really much of a shocker at this point from Ohio State. They’re always in conversation for some of the nation’s greatest mockers, and that hasn’t tended to have much bearing on their outcomes the past couple of years. If producer Ron Howard taught us anything, it's that a maniacal and over-the-top cast can be a splash hit–but also polarizing. Will Ohio State find themselves in the same place as their early 2000s television parallel with being unable to follow three great seasons with a fourth? Tune in this time next week to find out.

23. Maryland, College Park - The Comeback Kids
Now, this is a story all about how
A nats bid got flipped-turned upside down
And I'd like to take a minute just sit right there
I'll tell you how these folks became the claim to a prayer

Just north of Washington born and raised
In the courtroom was where they spent most of their days
Chillin' out, maxin', objectin’, all cool
And all shootin' some trial ball outside of the school
When a couple of reps who were up to no good
Started making trouble in their neighborhood
They made one little “invention” and AMTA got scared
They said, “Y’ain’t movin' with your auntie to Memphis this year”
They begged and pleaded with them day after day
But they packed their suitcase and sent em on their way
They gave the Grants a kiss and then gave em their ticket
They put their Walkman on and said, “We might as well kick it"
New year, yo this is bad
Gettin’ Asmerom out of a crimson glass, sayin’
Is this what the people of College Park living like?
Hmm, this might be alright
But wait, I hear they're inventive, dynamic, all that
Is this the type of place that they send Rosella, cool cat?
I do think so
W’ell see with them this year
I hope the circuit’s prepared for the terrapin to our hare

Well, the season’s landed and when we came out
There was Laniya, Amber, and Stephen standing there with their awards out
They ain't trying to get stopped yet, the seniors are here
They sprang with the quickness like Rebecca, and appeared
They whistled for Abdullah and when he came near
The license plate said, “Five-Time Champs” and it had in the mirror
If anything I could say that this team’s got it in the bag
And I thought “That’s the shit, yo, homes to the comeback”

They’ll pull up to ORCS about seven or eight (awards)
And they’ll yell to AMTA, "Yo homes, smell ya later"
They’ll look at their kingdom
The team hits the mark
To sit on their throne as the kings of College Park

24. Patrick Henry B
If a B team is intended to be the extra, secondary team to A, someone needs to tell Patrick Henry. This year marks the third year in a row that they’ve sent both to Nationals—a feat unrivaled in the nationals field. And again, it hasn’t been all success. They survived regionals, placed fourth in St. Paul, survived the massive snowstorm that hit the weekend of, and made it through NCT with an honorable mention in the Pohlman division. Not too bad. But when we say “survived regionals,” we mean it. As in 2021 and 2022, this year Patrick Henry B did not get an ORCS bid. They couldn’t get the ticket in, but after being admitted off the open-bid list, went on to place fourth, and then score the honorable mention at NCT. Ranking that high is not slight work. Now, going into 2024, we expect that much will be the same. Not the team of course—like any (accredited) college, Patrick Henry has some students graduating. This year they’ll be losing two (aforementioned) seniors, leaving room on their A team to see some good ol’ fashioned upward mobility. But who will fill those roles is another question. Looking all the way back to regionals, we can see that Patrick Henry talent is alive and well with the 17-rank attorneys James Elliott and Linnea Stuart both awarding at the Penn State regional. We wouldn’t be surprised to see them (or any other member of their class) on the B team next year. But unlike their colleagues at State College, Patrick Henry B didn’t see any awards at NCT—not witnessing, not attorneying, not even complimenting the other team for the shiny SPAMTA trophy. From that, one of two conclusions can be drawn. Either they’re bad, or their lineup is stacked with members that steal rankings off each other. Considering they placed above seven of the teams that saw awards, we'd definitely vote the latter. You’ll notice that for this year’s “Most Likely for B Team to Outplace A Team,” we chose Patrick Henry. No offense to their A, of course. Their B team is really that consistent. And rain or shine, we think that’s just what they’ll continue to show us.

25. Brown A
If you thought Harvard and Yale had completely cornered the market of Ivy Leaguers dominating in the courtroom— think again. Rounding out our top 25 are the Bears of Brown University, a team who has had an absolutely electrifying rise in recent years. In just three seasons, Brown has managed to jump 66 places in TPR, thanks in no small part to their fearless leaders both in round and behind the scenes. Michael2 (Chandler and Dippolito, to be precise) steam-rolled their way to a 6th place finish in Memphis with a combination of carefully crafted writing and dramatics that would make Johnny Cochran blush. Anyone who had the pleasure of watching Chandler at Trial By Combat, or has rewatched his play-in performance while furiously scribbling down his catchiest one-liners, knows that Brown Mock Trial can seriously capitalize on talent. But now that Chandler’s moment in the sun has passed, we must look to the rest of Brown’s squad for their next hopeful standout. Fortunately for the Bears, they’re not left wanting. With only Chandler graduating from their A Team as far as we can tell, Brown’s main prerogative this year must be finding a worthy competitor to take center stage. Kiara Moon’s poised, precise demeanor paired extremely well alongside Chandler’s more bombastic nature, but don’t be fooled— Moon may have seemed to play second fiddle, but her award count and 4-year A Team streak make her more than deserving of the spotlight. With flickers of fiery intensity punctuating her cross-examinations already, we have high hopes Brown can retain their signature flair. On the other side of the bar, their newly minted All-American expert Alex Lee still has two more years left of charming Judges into wanting to hear about even the most challenging of topics. HIs uniquely-spirited likability can disarm his cross-examiners and smooth over the worst bias points the case writers have to offer. These key players and the remaining captivatingly sharp A Team members keep us optimistic for Brown’s chances this year, so long as they don’t let losing their breakout star go unanswered.
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2024 Pre-Season Analysis Empty Re: 2024 Pre-Season Analysis

Mon Aug 28, 2023 4:13 pm
Individual Competitors to Watch 2023-24

We analyzed tab summaries from the past three seasons as well as compiled thoughts based on the rounds that each of our contributors have seen. From that analysis, we’ve crafted a list of accomplished individual competitors returning for the upcoming season that we think will perform particularly well. Some of these individuals made the list for taking an extraordinary number of awards this year, others may have taken fewer awards (particularly if they were overshadowed by someone who has now graduated), but based on our experiences with these individuals we think all of them will be standouts this year. Please let us know who we’ve missed—we’re certain we don’t have every elite competitor in the country on this list!

Mock Analysis is My Drug Preseason Predictions

Below, we’ve included our predictions for how some major events will turn out in the 2023-24 season. These are the result of a lot of discussion and debate among our contributors. As you would expect, and appropriate of the inherent subjectivity of mock trial, we weren’t able to reach a consensus on any of the questions. But the predictions below represent the majority opinion of our group. We’re particularly excited to revisit this list at the end of the year and see how we did! If you have other predictions like these feel free to share them.          

NCT Champion: UCLA

NCT Final Teams: UCLA & Chicago (we made this prediction before Rookie Rumble)

Most Likely for B Team to Outplace A Team: Patrick Henry

Most Likely to be Undefeated Through Regionals and ORCS: UCLA

Most Likely to Get Two Teams to NCT: UCLA

GAMTI Champion: Virginia

GCF Champion: UCLA

Best Composite Team:
Opener: Josiah Jones
Middle: Ria Debnath
Closer: Audrey Vanderslice

Best Crier: Juliana Mothersbaugh
Best Character: Naomi Uchida
Best Expert: Jad Soucar
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2024 Pre-Season Analysis Empty Re: 2024 Pre-Season Analysis

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