January 19, 2011
Members of the 2011 College of Wooster Moot Court National team (left to right): First Row: Natalie Noyes, Rachel Shonebarger, and Jessica Schumacher. Second Row : Alan Van Runkle, Chad Trownson, Janet Zahorsky, Erica Lynn Rickey, Andrea Patton, and Amanda Collins. Third Row: Adel El-Adawy, John Carter, Scott Merrifield, Willem Daniel, Michael Walton, Stephen Perrott, and Mark Burgin
WOOSTER, Ohio — The College of Wooster’s Moot Court team turned in another strong showing at the American Collegiate Moot Court Association (AMCA) National Championship Tournament at Tulane University Law School over the weekend (Jan 14-15). Twelve of Wooster’s 16 competitors earned All-American honors in a field that included students from Syracuse, Baylor, Texas A&M, California State (Long Beach), and perennial power Patrick Henry College.
“We sent eight two-person teams (the maximum allowed), and at least three more would have received bids if not for the limit,” said Mark Weaver, professor of political science and advisor to Wooster’s Moot Court team. “Six of our eight teams ‘broke,’ meaning that they were among the 32 teams (from a field of 64) that moved on to the elimination rounds.”
Leading the way for Wooster was the team of senior Willem Daniel and sophomore Rachel Shonebarger, who advanced to the final round, but missed winning the championship by just one judge’s vote. Five other two-person teams also earned All-American honors by advancing to the round of 16, including juniors Scott Merrifield and Janet Zahorsky, who made it to the Final Four. Others moving on were the teams of Natalie Noyes and Michael Walton, both seniors; Stephen Perrott, a sophomore, and Andrea Patton, a first-year; and Adel El-Adawy and Jessica Schumacher, both seniors. Schumacher also was one of just 20 participants selected as an Outstanding Individual Orator (12th of 20).
“Competing at the national level and reaching the round of 16 with four other Wooster teams was a great experience and showed (our) strength in the competition,” said El-Adawy. “I am glad Wooster offered the opportunity for me to do this, and I will definitely continue moot court in law school."
Perrott, who advanced to the round of 16 as well, praised Wooster’s team effort. “Everybody genuinely cared about each other and was willing to help each other succeed,” he said. “I was heavily involved in competitive sports in high school, but it was this experience that taught me the true meaning of teamwork. Practice really paid off. Under Dr. Weaver's guidance and teaching, we were able to conduct practices that rivaled the actual competitions."
In addition to those who advanced to the round of 16, Erica Rickey, a first-year, and Mark Burgin, a senior, made it to the round of 32 to earn All-American honors. Rounding out the field for Wooster were sophomores Chad Trownson and Amanda Collins, junior John Carter, and senior Alan Van Runkle — all of whom qualified for the tournament but did not advance.
In summarizing the experience, Burgin described Moot Court as a life skill, rather than a simple extracurricular activity. “One learns to analyze a substantial amount of material, develop arguments, and then convey those arguments verbally,” he said. “Those who participate develop the ability to think quickly in the spur of the moment, which enables them to answer a barrage of seemingly unexpected and varying questions. Should one choose to involve themselves in this momentous program, they will depart with an air of confidence and a vast amount of knowledge.”
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