Tufts Mock Trial team wins second place at tournament, look to heading to nationals

Tufts Mock Trial Co-Presidents Sara Weiss and Katie Grosch pose for a portrait on Feb. 2. Laura de Armas / The Tufts Daily

The Tufts Mock Trial A and B teams attended the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) regional tournament in Central Islip, New York last weekend, moving the A team one step closer to advancing to the National Championship.

At the AMTA tournament, hosted by the Suffolk Academy of Law, the A team took second place out of a pool 26 teams, earning a place in the Opening Round Championships, according to the AMTA result summary. The Opening Round Championships in Wilmington, Delaware, held between Mar. 19 to Mar. 20, is the final tournament before the Mock Trial National Championships in mid-April.

Meanwhile at the tournament, the B team received an honorable mention for the “Spirit of the AMTA” Award for the team exhibiting the most sportsmanship and embodying the ideals of mock trial. Additionally, B team member sophomore Andrew Nassar placed first in the category of “Outstanding Witness,” according to the results page.

During the competition, the A team took on opponents from Brandeis University, Fordham University at Lincoln Center, Boston College and The King’s College, according to the results page. The B team faced teams from St. John’s University, Boston University, Brown University and Fordham University at Rose Hill.

These results follow the teams’ earlier success in the season, according to Tufts Mock Trial (TMT) co-president Katie Grosch.

During the weekend of Jan. 23 to 25, the TMT A Team finished in fifth place in the Downtown Collegiate Tournament, presented by Empire Mock Trial in partnership with New York University (NYU), at the Brooklyn Courthouse in the Eastern District of New York, according to the tournament website.

Amid snowstorm Jonas, sixteen teams competed in the invite-only tournament. TMT competitors faced opponents from Princeton University, Yale University, Northwestern University and the tournament’s first-place winners, the University of California at Berkeley.

TMT qualified to participate in the Downtown Collegiate Tournament because of the A team’s fifth place win at last year’s National Championship Tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio, under the leadership of co-presidents Nicholas Teleky (A‘15) and Anna Lyons (A‘15), according to the team’s website.

Grosch, a senior, and TMT Co-President Sara Weiss said they had expected the Downtown Invitational to be challenging, so the Tufts team members had to consistently impress the judges to progress through each round. Weiss, a senior, said that winning a tournament is not achieved by winning a case, but by judges’ scores out of 10 for team members’ opening statements, witnesses, crossing attorneys and closing statements.

“At the Commonwealth Classic and Brandeis Invitational, members of our team got individual awards at these tournaments as attorneys or witnesses, so heading into the Downtown Invitational our team was doing well,” Weiss said. “The Downtown Invitational is known as the most difficult in the country, so winning fifth place was great and on par with our performance in past years.”

At the Downtown Invitational, Weiss won the title “Outstanding Attorney” for her role as an attorney for both the prosecution and defense, according to the TMT website.

Grosch said that these results put the A team in line to reach their goal of attending the AMTA National Championship, which will be held in Greenville, South Carolina from April 15 to April 17. 

When elected to be co-presidents, Weiss said that she and Grosch decided to strengthen the team and make a concerted effort to make it to the national tournament.

Under their leadership, TMT began its season by winning the UMass Amherst Commonwealth Classic and taking second place at the 10th Annual Justice Louis D. Brandeis Invitational.

Weiss agreed that the team is performing especially well, and said she hopes TMT members are gaining experience and enjoyment from the competitions.

“We are so proud of the way the team is performing, especially at the Downtown Invitational that opened the spring semester,” she said. “Our philosophy right now is to get experience, get some trophies and have some fun.”