WOOSTER, Ohio – Three partnerships (six students) from The College of Wooster have qualified for the American Moot Court Association National Tournament in Baton Rouge, La., on Jan. 17-18, highlighting an impressive run of results at AMCA-sanctioned regional competitions that saw two other Wooster students earn top honors in individual orator categories.
Wooster is one of just nine schools that will have three or more partnerships at the national tourney and was tantalizingly close to making it six partnerships, according to John Rudisill, associate professor of philosophy at Wooster and coach of the moot court team.
“The three teams we have representing Wooster at nationals will each be very competitive and capable of making a deep run in the tournament. I’m excited to see how they will argue on that national stage,” commented Rudisill. “In three of the regionals we competed in, we had another partnership that was a ballot away from also advancing to nationals, which would have put us at six teams qualified, so there was a fair amount of heartbreak over this past month as well. But, I know that these students will be back and even better next year.”
Juniors Elyse Evans and Cecelia Payne not only qualified for nationals, but emerged as champions of the Windy City Regional, hosted by Loyola University Chicago School of Law Nov. 8-9. Individually, Evans finished as the fifth-place individual orator and Payne seventh at that competition, and first-year teammate John Schmidt was 10th.
First-year Haley Huett and sophomore Michael Nahhas advanced to the semifinals at the regional held at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Nov. 15-16, to secure a spot in the national field, while at that same competition, first-year Aidan L’Hommedieu was crowned the individual orator champion.
Juniors Oria Daugherty and Heather Hartmann also qualified for the national tournament by virtue of a quarterfinal showing at the Midwest Regional, hosted at Wooster Nov. 15-16, and standing out individually were sophomore Keegan King and first-year Jenna Dyroff, who were named as the seventh- and eighth-best orators, respectively.
Also of note, Brianna Schmidt, a former national champion in the AMCA’s brief writing category, earned the top speaker award at the University of Chicago Invitational Oct. 18-19, while fellow seniors Libbie Main and Emily Stoehr finished as the third- and seventh-ranked orators, respectively, at the Great Lakes Regional, held at Saginaw Valley State University on Nov. 22-23.
At the AMCA National Tournament, there will be one change in the three partnerships. Joining the teams of Huett-Nahhas and Daugherty-Hartmann will be Payne-Brianna Schmidt. The latter is replacing Evans, who will be studying abroad next semester.
While Daugherty and Hartmann, who are now three-time national qualifiers, as well as Schmidt bring proven experience, which should bode well for Wooster in Baton Rouge, La., Rudisill is just as excited about the future of the program “given the volume of youth, the level of talent in that youth, and the great experience they now have under their belts.”
According to the AMCA, moot court is a method of teaching law and legal skills that requires students to analyze and argue both sides of a hypothetical legal issue using procedures modeled after those employed in state and federal appellate courts.