College of Wooster Moot Court Team Storms into National Tournament
Seven two-person teams qualify for nationals — second most of any college or university
WOOSTER, Ohio — The College of Wooster turned in strong performances at four regional tournaments and qualified seven two-person teams for next month's American Collegiate Moot Court Association (ACMA) national championship — second most of any school in the nation — while garnering a host of individual orator honors in the process.
"Wooster continues to compete successfully with other college and university moot court programs [that have] large budgets and large coaching staffs because of the participation of local and alumni attorneys at our practices and because of the hard work and leadership of the team captains," said Mark Weaver, professor of political science and head coach of Wooster's Moot Court Team. "We were a young and relatively inexperienced team this year, and the four captains — seniors Mallory Kruper and Luke Tonat, along with juniors Alexander Downs and Benjamin Taylor — were outstanding team leaders who forged a nationally competitive team in a single semester."
At the Upper Midwest Regional Tournament, which was hosted by the University of Iowa School of Law in Iowa City on Nov. 7-8, Kruper and Jacob Oppler, also a senior, qualified for the national tournament by finishing fifth overall. In addition, Kruper was second and Oppler fourth in the category of individual orators.
One week later, in Saginaw, Mich., Wooster sent six two-person teams to the Great Lakes Regional where Downs and junior Madeleine O'Neill captured first place and netted one of the top spots in the national tournament. Also qualifying for nationals were sophomore Hannah Buzolits and first-year Austin Maffei, who placed fourth. Individually, orator awards went to Maffei, who placed second; Buzolits, who finished fifth; and O'Neill, who came in ninth.
The following week, Wooster hosted the Midwest Regional, which was sponsored by the Wayne County Bar Association and the College's Pre-Law Advising Program. Seven Wooster teams competed, and three advanced to the national tournament: sophomore Marie Sheehan and Taylor, who placed third; junior Rachel Sullivan and junior Audrey Steiner-Malumphy, who finished sixth; and sophomore David Kreuzman and junior Ellie Bell, who came in seventh. (Kreuzman has an academic conflict that will prevent him from competing that weekend, so he will be replaced by sophomore Jack Johanning at nationals). Receiving individual orator awards were Bell (second), Kreuzman (fourth), Johanning (sixth), and Sullivan (tenth).
Rounding out the list of qualifiers for Wooster were junior Abigail Helvering and Tonat, who advanced to the Sweet 16 in the Eastern Regional Tournament at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts on the same weekend as the Wooster tournament. Individually, Helvering was sixth, and Tonat was twelfth among individual orators.
"Our greatest strength is our knowledge of the case law and our command over the logic of our arguments," said Tonat. "We also have two major strengths as a team. The first comes directly from our coach, Dr. Mark Weaver, [who], unlike most coaches across the country, gives us the freedom to create and craft our own unique arguments that are best suited to our talents, while still pushing us on the major assumptions that we make. The second is that as a team we work together, testing ideas and refining presentations collaboratively on a near-daily basis. It is that ability to create our own independent and unique arguments, coupled with our team's collaborative climate, that give us an edge over our opponents. In this sense, The College of Wooster's Moot Court team is truly a perfect example of 'independent minds working together.'"
Wooster will compete at the ACMA national tournament Jan 16-17 at the Florida International University College of Law in Miami.