After having just missed qualifying for Nationals last season, UIMT is back at it, competing at the 34th AMTA National Championship Tournament. Being at this tournament places UIMT in the top 48 teams in the nation. The competition is split into two divisions where we then faced opponents Tufts, NYU, Arizona, and Chicago. Competing against the best teams in the nation is challenging enough, but our schedule had us go against the teams finishing in fifth, sixth, and tenth place in the division. Our Hawkeyes still managed to hold their own as we even beat the sixth place Tufts head-to-head, 2-1. Our record puts us finishing the season among the top 40 teams in the nation. While there was no team trophy to be had for UIMT, we still displayed our witness talent with an award winner. Sophie Ortiz continued her roll from ORCS to earn All-American status as a witness. Our program had strong talent all year in our youthful competitors despite a lack of experience. Five of the ten members on our nationals team were first-years and we have many more young members with lots of promise to give us a deep pool of skill. UIMT will look to go even further next year as our young program continues to build and improve.
After our A and B Teams having advanced with their only losses to teams from Rhodes College, we now travel to Rhodes' home turf for the Opening Round Championship Series in Memphis. Placing in the top six at this tournament will earn a spot at the National Championship Tournament next month. It was no easy task for Iowa A as they had to go against the second place and fifth place teams. The finish was razor thin, but by a nose, our A Team claimed 6th Place to earn UIMT a spot at the National Championship Tournament. Not only did Iowa A fight hard for their trophy, but they did so with civility as they were Honorable Mention for the Spirit of AMTA award. UIMT also had some incredible accomplishments in terms of individual awards, as well. First-year Ellie Hoeper earned her second award of the season. Ellie was named All-National Witness to put the total at twelve awards earned by first-year competitors. We have some amazing witness talent growing in the program as eleven of those twelve were witness awards. Another UIMT All-National Witness was named in second-year Sophie Ortiz as she has been one of our most spectacular young competitors. Finally, UIMT President, Cait Spackman earned an award for the third tournament in a row. She now leads UIMT with seven awards for the season in her senior year. This also makes three out of four years that Cait has received All-National honors. She was named as an attorney last year and as a witness her freshman year. Cait has really been finishing her senior year strongly and has certainly had an impact on the young members of our program. Five out of the ten competitors on the team earning a spot at the National Championship Tournament are only in their first season of collegiate mock trial.
In the same weekend that our C and D Teams were in Cedar Rapids, our A and B Teams head down to Washburn University for the Topeka Regional Tournament. With many good teams here, it was all Iowa and Rhodes battling it out for the top of the podium. Iowa A cruised through the first two rounds, but then came across national powerhouse, Rhodes College. With a close margin of loss to the eventual first place team being the only losses on our record, Iowa A would finish in 4th Place and earn a spot in the next round of tournaments. Iowa B started off the tournament with a tough round against a different Rhodes team that finished in third place. With that loss in the first round being our B Team's only blemish, Iowa B took 2nd Place at the tournament. It's hard to complain too much when your teams finish with a combined record of 13-3 and the only losses are to a top ranked school. Adding to the excitement of earning two bids to the next round were our two individual award winners. John Melvin became our eighth different first-year competitor to win an award this season when he earned All-Regional honors as a witness. It was no surprise no when UIMT President, Cait Spackman was one of the top ranked attorneys at the tournament to earn All-Regional status for the second year in a row. It's a great way for senior, Cait Spackman to end her last ever Regional Tournament as a competitor; with a team trophy and an individual award.
This weekend was the start of our competition at the Regional Tournaments. Our C and D Teams are staying close to home with the tournament being a short drive to Cedar Rapids. Our A and B Teams are competing at a different Regional Tournament this weekend down near Kansas City. These tournaments determine which teams advance to the next round for the Opening Round Championship Series. Iowa C and Iowa D were full of new competitors in their first Regional Tournament. They've grown a lot this season and were being put to the test. Iowa C had to work through a tough schedule as they faced the first place team, seventh place team, and an honorable mention. Iowa D went against the fifth place team and another honorable mention. Our D team was going strong and was in position to place going into the last round, but fell short. UIMT's young competitors would have to settle for this tournament being a learning experience. They will look to continue their dramatic improvement next year and go even further. Showcasing the talent of our first-years was Adam Darr. He received perfect ranks to be named as an All-Regional Witness and become our seventh new member to win an award this season.
To close out the season before Regionals, Iowa a and Iowa B traveled further east to face some teams from the Indiana, Ohio, Michigan region. Competing in this region allowed our teams to see some different styles and opponents as we make final changes. Iowa A faced the eventual second place team and suffered a couple more close losses. With a couple small improvements, they could have placed in the top five. This gives our program encouraging ideas of what to work on to get ready for the Regional Tournament. Two of our top competitors are looking poised for the coming competition as Megan Koch and President Cait Spackman were both named as Outstanding Attorneys. That's Megan's third tournament in a row with the honor, giving her six individual awards this season. Cait's award gives her five in her senior season as she gets ready for her final AMTA tournaments.
Our C and D Teams made the short trip in state to Loras College for their final tournament before Regionals. Iowa C had a slow start in their first rounds of competition since winter break. They were then able to shake this off and finish strong as they won every ballot in their last two rounds of the tournament. Iowa D looked good and was going strong, but then they ran into the third place team in the final round. Winning that round would have flipped the script and put Iowa finishing in the top four. Our young program has continued to be impressive all season long as Ellie Hoeper becomes the sixth first-year competitor to win an individual award. Ellie's Outstanding Witness award gives our first-year members a total of nine awards on the season, with eight of those being for witnesses. Both our C and D Teams look set to make the final adjustments before they compete at the Regional Tournament in Cedar Rapids.
It's always a challenge to shake off the rust and get back into rhythm after winter break. This was no exception as UIMT got a slow start in the first tournament of the new year. Our schedule didn't make things any easier as we had to face three honorable mentions and the team finishing in second place. Despite the challenging schedule, our B Team (1512 on the tab summary) had three individual awards. First-year competitor Serena Qamhieh earned her second award of the season as an Outstanding Witness. First-year Erica Barnett and second-year Megan Koch didn't seem to miss a beat as they started this semester the same way they ended last semester, by winning Outstanding honors. Erica now has three Outstanding Witness awards in her first season of mock trial while Megan's attorney award puts her season total at five.
Our last tournament of the semester keeps us at home as we host our own tournament. Iowa was pleased to once again host an exclusive field of elite teams. Of the 14 visiting teams, 8 made it to the National Championship Tournament last season, with all of the rest having come close. Both of our teams had three of their four opponents being teams that were at Nationals last season. Iowa A even had the second toughest schedule of the tournament. This stiff competition caused UIMT to struggle, but it was great preparation for where we need to be the rest of the season. Despite this struggle and challenging competition, both teams had individual award winners. Omar Khodor is a rising sophomore in our program and was named as an Outstanding Attorney. Also on the Be Team, first-year Erica Barnett won her second Outstanding Witness award of the season. Leading the charge with our A Team, Megan Koch won our tournament's "Double Threat" Award for the competitor with the highest combined ranks as both an attorney and a witness.
UIMT went north again to another tournament in Minnesota. Iowa saw good successes as both teams we sent came away with a trophy. Team 1513 continued their success from the previous tournament as they won a trophy in back-to-back weekends. This time, they had to settle for 7th Place as they came across the first place team in the final round. That single trial decided the tournament winner in the fourth round as winning that round would have made 1513 the tournament champions. Our other team at the tournament, 1512, was able to finish with a strong 3rd Place trophy. They also came very close to winning the tournament as their only loss was to the second place finisher. It's very encouraging to see our teams come so close to topping the podium as our young members continue to improve, especially since our two teams tied each other for the third toughest schedule in the tournament. Highlighting this improvement was Michelle Kumar becoming our fifth first-year competitor to win an individual award this season with her Outstanding Witness honor.
This weekend we sent two teams west, crossing the state of Iowa and hopping the border into Nebraska for a tournament in Omaha. Our young group continued to soak up experience and improve. Team 1513 has shown they can learn quickly and improve as they earned the 3rd Place trophy. Our first year members were continuing to roll as two more of them have earned their first awards this season. Mason Koelm displayed his talent as an Outstanding Attorney and Erica Barnett owned the witness stand as an Outstanding Witness. That marks four of our new members winnings awards this season.
UIMT again traveled to a tournament in the state of Illinois as we sent our A Team to face some competitive schools at the University of Illinois. Our Hawkeyes started off strong going undefeated in the first two rounds. They managed to beat a team from the renowned Rhodes College. Iowa faltered after that as they split the next round to another Rhodes team and then lost to the second place team. This caused them to just miss placing in the top seven. Graduating senior, Cait Spackman, has won her share of awards so far this year and Rachel Bruflodt reminded us that she can also play some of our best witnesses as she won an Outstanding Witness award. Rachel and Cait are the only two current competitors of UIMT who have been in the program for four years. Always humble, even when we know she is the most intelligent person there is, Rachel's award is well deserved in her senior season.
Going in a different direction, we traveled north to the Twin Cities for a tournament that UIMT has been to many times. The young group of Team 1514 (1512 on the tab summary) was much improved from their performance last weekend. With only one member of the team having more than a couple months of college experience, they just missed finishing in the top ten of a tournament filled with forty-five teams. While having so many young competitors, another one of the first-year members of this team was featured during the awards ceremony for their first mock trial award. Travis Siegel was named Outstanding Witness to join Serena Qamhieh from last weekend.
UIMT sent two of its teams on a much shorter drive east this weekend. It was an easy travel across state lines into Illinois for the Huskie Cup Invitational. This tournament displayed a lot of local teams. Other than one round against Arizona, our opponents were all schools in Illinois. The outcome of the tournament was not very desirable, but for almost all of the competitors, this was only their second tournament of the year. Additionally, most of our program is comprised of first-year members. With so many young and inexperienced competitors, this was another great opportunity for them to learn and build for the rest of the season. UIMT did have a bright spot at awards in first-year member, Serena Qamhieh winning her first ever individual award. Serena was awarded as an Outstanding Witness.
This weekend UIMT sent its A Team to a high quality tournament out in Ohio. Competing at OSU is the first time on record of being at their tournament. We didn't come away with a trophy, but our competitors did well while facing some tough competition. They were tied for the second toughest schedule at the tournament and would have finished in the top five if they had taken both ballots in the last round. They also split a round with the fifth place team. The trip was well worth the experience as UIMT was able to face opponents that we rarely see in our region; such as Xavier, North Carolina, Georgia, and Cincinnati. Even more exciting was the familiar announcements during the individual awards. The same result as our first tournament, Cait Spackman was named as both Outstanding Attorney and Outstanding Witness while Megan Koch also won an award. The difference this time is that Megan was named as an Outstanding Witness instead of an attorney. Megan now has one of each while Cait has two of each for a total of four awards in the first two tournaments of the season. This also continues Cait's streak of six tournaments in a row with an award, dating back to last season; she has collected nine awards during those six tournaments.
UIMT had its usual season kickoff by sending the full program down to the Arch Invitational in St. Louis. The past few years we have been comprised of three teams, but this year we were able to send four teams to this tournament. This is always such a fun time of the year when returning members are able to get back into the swing of things and new members get their feet wet competing against other schools. It's also great when we are able to take home a trophy. Team 1512 was able to come away without a loss to win 2nd Place for UIMT. They did have one blemish on their record with a tie to the University of Texas - Austin who finished in third. We also had Team 1513 in position to finish in the top ten, but they lost in the fourth round to a team finishing as honorable mention. All around, we saw a lot of good talent from both our young and old members that we look forward to improving throughout the season. UIMT also had some standout competitors earning individual awards. Our program President, Cait Spackman (pictured below with Assistant Coach Storm Miller), received perfect ranks to be named Outstanding Witness. Cait was also named as Outstanding Attorney along with her co-counsel, Megan Koch (pictured above-left). The duo was named first or second on all four ballots together. This is the second year in a row that Cait has won an attorney award at WashU and also the second year in a row that the UIMT President has started their senior season as an Outstanding Attorney (last year's President, Abby Ayers).
All-American Witness -
All-National Witness -
Outstanding Attorney -
Outstanding Witness -
Outstanding Attorney -
Double Threat Award -
(Highest Attorney + Witness Rank)
Outstanding Witness -
November 12th & 13th
Outstanding Attorney -
Outstanding Witness -
Outstanding Witness -
The Macalester Trials Trials
November 3rd - 5th
Outstanding Witness -
Outstanding Attorney -