While most students were trying to stay warm in the Ohio weather this past week, the Wooster Moot Court team, composed of 16 students and two professors, left the cold weather behind as they headed down to Virginia for the National Moot Court tournament.
In their last competition of the year, the team had one of their most successful tournaments ever. Three students were named National Champions and Rachel Shonebarger ’13 received multiple titles.
“This is one of the best teams that I have ever coached,” said Mark Weaver, Wooster professor and the head coach of the team. “We had several teams competing and I think any of them could have been national champions — with the right luck and hitting the right round.”
The competition was spread over two days. The first day was the all-around competition where every team was ranked on their performance. The top scoring teams made it to the second day elimination rounds. Five teams of Wooster students, each with two people, made it to day two. There were 80 teams competing at the tournament, but less than half advanced to the second day.
This year, a rule change spiced up the competition. In previous years two teams from the same school were not allowed to compete against each other.This year, that rule was eliminated, and teams from the same school had to face each other. Of the five Wooster teams, four had to face each other on the second day. This rule change did not affect any other school.
The two Wooster teams made up of Amanda Collins ’13 and Alexi Ehrlich ’15 and Mae Manupipatpong ’14 and Eric Petry ’14 faced off in the top eight bracket.
“When they said we had to face each other, I wanted to cry. It was the one thing I didn’t want to happen,” said Collins. “The four of us talked, we went in the room and we were like ‘We are going to argue our best and we know we are both great teams.’”
In the end Collins and Ehrlich came out on top. “I honestly thought they won, and the fact that we beat [Mae and Eric] was a huge surprise,” said Collins.
“I would have liked our chances if there was no such rule, because all four of those teams had a shot at the national championship,” added Weaver. Collins and Ehrlich went on to win National runner’s-up in oral argument.
“When my partner and I lost in the round of eight, we obviously didn’t want to lose, but it meant that our senior captain was moving on so we were really pleased for her,” said Petry. He and his partner went on to win first place for brief petitioner.
Overall, the Moot team had two teams that became national champions. Petry and Manupipatpong and Shonebarger and Rachel Myers ’14 were awarded first place for brief petitioner and brief respondent, respectively.
At the end of the tournament, the Wooster team got a standing ovation from the audience.
“It showed that other schools really respect Wooster,” said Collins. “We were really happy because our coach seemed happy and we want to win for him,” said Petry.