UR Mock Trial (URMT) is sending two teams to nationals for the first time in UR history—with help from friends in high places.
Between an out-of-pocket handout and a donation from an alumnus who was on the debate team, UR President Joel Seligman has managed to raise two of the ten thousand dollars URMT needs to fund its trip to Los Angeles in April, which they earned after a successful Opening Round Championship Series run, an appearance that included the group’s A Team beating the defending champs.
“When Seligman heard Jason [Altabet, group president,] mention that our A team beat Yale—the defending national champions—he started asking about what kind of support we needed and offered his help,” said senior and URMT Business Manager Alice Gindin.
“From there he told the class that when he was in high school he had to fundraise his way to the national championships for debate with no assistance from his school because his principal only cared about sports,” said Gindin. “He managed to raise all the money, but he said it was an unpleasant ordeal and he wants to make sure we have a better experience.”
URMT has also received $6,000 from the Student’s Association Appropriations Committee (SAAC), for which the organization is “incredibly grateful,” said Gindin.
Going to nationals didn’t seem like a realistic possibility, according to sophomore and URMT’s B Team Co-Captain Deisy Abarca-Espiritu, who had no idea what Mock Trial was before joining the team her freshman year.
Abarca-Espiritu spent her first year learning the basics from upperclassmen. After a “not-so-successful” season last year, she was determined to move the team forward.
“This year’s been about learning from both the mistakes and successes of last season and translating that into a cohesive, successful B Team,” said Abarca-Espiritu.
This year alone, the B Team has accumulated three outstanding attorney awards, an outstanding witness award, and three second-place tournament wins.
Junior and B Team Co-Captain Zachary Marshall-Carter attributes much of his team’s success to being optimistic.
“Making sure that the members know they are important, cared about, and that they are doing a good job is what I think makes people do well,” said Marshall-Carter.
For the Opening Round Championship Series, the B Team spent over 40 hours practicing, not including time they spent individually crafting their case. Yet according to Marshall-Carter, they competed like it was their last time every round.
“We didn’t really know if it would be our last chance to try the case,” he said.
Going into nationals, Marshall-Carter and his teammates are hopeful that they will continue to do their best and “hold their own,” as they compete against the top seven percent of teams in the country.
The B Team expects to practice eight or more hours a week leading up to the competition, but Marshall-Carter says he won’t be sad if they lose, as long as they put in their all.
Junior and B Team Attorney Ari Geller shares his sentiment.
“When I step into that courtroom, I’m doing it with some of my best friends, and there’s nobody I’d rather have beside me,” he said.