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UMBC Mock Trial wins historic bid to semi-final round

Win marks first opening-round championship appearance in team’s history

UMBC’s Mock Trial team took part in the American Mock Trial Association’s Regional tournament. They made school history when they won a bid to the American Mock Trial Association’s Opening Round Championship Series — their first since the program was founded in 2010.

The Regional tournament took place on February 21 and February 22 at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law in Baltimore, Maryland. The tournament was comprised of four rounds and attended by twenty-four teams.

UMBC’s team was split into an A team and a B team and dealt with civil court cases. The A team, which will be moving on to the Opening Round Championship Series this month, consists of President Cheyenne Smith, Secretary Kayla Smith, Zachary Garmoe, Dylan Elliott, Will Rice, Stephen Keith, Eleni Hadjipantelli, and Nathan Incognito. Elliott has since been named All Region Attorney, along with Brandon James.

The A team is preparing in anticipation of the ORCS, making necessary changes to their case elements. They meet as often as they can as each member juggles the demands of the spring semester. ORCS is set for March 14 and March 15 at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse in Washington, D.C.

The team hopes to hone their skills at ORCS and eventually win a bid to the National Championship Tournament. Kayla Smith, a sophomore interdisciplinary studies major, said that the team will be facing off against fierce competitors and recognizes that they still have a long way to go.

“We’re taking this team to a new level, you know? We’re finally on the map. We beat Rutgers to get here. We’ll be competing with schools like Princeton and Brown in a few weeks … We’re the underdogs and I think it’s possible for us to really surprise everyone,” Smith commented. She also mentioned she has “so much faith” in her team, and that the bid to ORCS shows how far Mock Trial has come.

Smith explained that the program has endless benefits for students from all disciplines. “If you’re an actor, you get practice in performance and improvisation. If you’re going to law school, you get practice in the field and some opportunities to network,” Smith said. She added that she has made many friends and has greatly improved her public speaking by taking part in Mock Trial.

Dr. Jeffrey Davis of UMBC’s Political Science Department acts as the team’s faculty advisor. The students on the team’s Executive Board do most of the organizing themselves.

Dylan Elliott, a sophomore history major, credited the win at Regionals to “a fantastic work ethic and an unbelievable level of dedication.” He continued, “Accepting the bid to ORCS and making history has been surreal — it is definitely one of the proudest moments of my life so far. To be the first team from UMBC to put everything together and lift an ORCS Bid trophy has been a dream come true.”

“We’ve made an indelible mark on the history of our program, for the better,” Elliot went on to say. ”Although our program, in its brief history, has boasted some very talented witnesses and attorneys, no team has been able to do something like this. That’s something that can never be taken away from us.”