Mock Trial Team Places First and Second in Crimson Classic

The University of Alabama Mock Trial team continued their successful season at their last invitational meet of the year here in Tuscaloosa.

In January, the team hosted the first mock trial tournament held at the University, the Crimson Classic, in ten Hoor Hall. The team entered the Crimson Team, which won second place, the White team, which placed first overall, and the Houndstooth team. Nine universities participated with 12 teams competing, including the University of Georgia, Vanderbilt, Millsaps College and the University of Louisiana-Monroe.

UA’s mock trial team took on all the responsibilities of planning a mock trial tournament. President of the organization Jordan LaPorta said he and his teammates found judges for the competition, arranged lodging for those visiting from far away, arranged venues and meals, and registered the event with the American Mock Trial Association, all within about six weeks.

“We’d like to have more teams compete next year now that we kind of have an idea what we are doing and a baseline from which to operate,” LaPorta said. “Next year the team will have an opportunity to really expand.”

The White team, consisting primarily of freshmen and sophomore members, is captained by junior Josie Rykhus and sophomore Jake Miller.

While the team had great success previously, taking home first place in the Mid-South Invitational, Rykhus said she didn’t expect to win first in their own tournament.

“I didn’t want to set my expectations low, but I didn’t expect us to come in first either,” Rykhus said.

The Crimson team, which consists of more seasoned mock trial team members, is captained by senior LaPorta and senior Read Mills.

LaPorta and Mills said they are both proud of the younger members of their team for their hard work and willingness to accept criticism and advice.

“You can’t have soft skin,” Miller said. “The best teams are the ones that don’t get set in their ways and don’t dig themselves into a rut.”

UA’s mock trial team has not had time yet to get set in their ways. Only five years in existence, the team has rocked the mock trial circuit with their continuing success, despite having less experience or time to develop.

So far, the team has been attending invitational competitions, but they are gearing up now to attend the first elimination tournament on the road to the American Mock Trial Association National Championship.

“This is where the rubber meets the road,” LaPorta said. “All the tournaments so far have been invitationals, which are glorified scrimmages. The road to the National Championship begins now.”

First, the team will attend the AMTA’s Regional Tournament February 17-19, hoping to advance to the Opening Round Championship Series Tournament, or ORCS, which will host 192 teams from across the country.

“At this point, we fully expect to go to ORCS,” Miller said. “It’s just a matter of whether or not we can fulfill our potential.”

Following the ORCS, 48 teams will continue to the National Championship Tournament.

“I think that, in my time being here, this is the most talented pool of individuals we have ever had,” LaPorta said. “I think, because of our mix of experience and talent, this could be the time we make it to the National Championship.”