Patrick Henry College
|The PHC Moot Court team showed depth at the 2007 ACMA Finals.|
Having advanced all eight of its teams into Saturday’s final “out rounds,” PHC’s top-seeded, two-time national championship moot court team fell short in its bid to “three-peat” at the 2007 American Collegiate Moot Court Association National Tournament. Still, in a deep, talented field that saw no other school advance more than a single Saturday qualifier, PHC weathered a slow battle of attrition to capture third place team honors at Regent University Law School, January 19-20.
In the process, three PHC students took top individual “orator” awards, including first place by Lindsay See; fourth place by Caleb Dalton, and fifth place by Kirsten Winston, Dalton’s moot court teammate.
The national trophy went to Adam Morrison and Brian Dotson of Armstrong Atlantic College, with runner-up honors going to James Owens and Michael McMaster of the College of Wooster. The Patrick Henry College team of Rachel Heflin and Kawika Vellalos tied for third place with Andrea Dale-Huffman and Andrea Montgomery of Howard Payne University, while Isaiah McPeak and Dominique Deming took fifth place.
Ironically, it was Saturday morning’s unexpected upset of the tourney’s top seed, Lindsay See and Peter Kamakawowoole, that may have derailed PHC’s best hope of earning a third consecutive national trophy. Seasoned spectators, including former PHC debate champ Rachel Williams (a Regent Law School freshman) considered the duo’s performance “flawless,” though the judge’s scores failed to reflect it, perhaps illustrating the unpredictable nature of moot court judging.
“It happens,” said a shrugging Kamakawowoole, who knows well the highs and lows of moot court competition, having won the competition as a freshman in 2005.
“I’m satisfied that we did our best,” smiled See. “I’m just incredibly proud to be a part of this team.”
With See and Kamakawowoole eliminated, it was left up to the three remaining PHC teams to shoulder the quarterfinal load: Winston and Dalton; Dominique Deming and Isaiah McPeak, and Rachel Heflin and Kawika Vellalos. When the semi-final match-ups had been announced, Vellalos and Heflin remained the College’s lone flag bearers. And judging from the judge’s remarks and razor close scoring following their match (with the tournament’s eventual winners), PHC narrowly missed a trip to the finals.
In the brief writing portion of the tournament, in which competitors prepare legal briefs answering opposing “respondent” and the “petitioner” questions (the same two questions moot teams argue), PHC teams excelled, taking first in both categories. Rachel Helfin and Kawika Vellalos took First Place Brief for Petitioner, and Lindsay See and Peter Kamakawowoole took First Place Brief for Respondent; Jenna Lorence and Aidan Grano took Third Place Brief for Petitioner.
While understandably disappointed by the final standings, the 16-member PHC team, by virtue of its disproportionate depth and quality on the final day and throughout the season, seemed reassured and grateful.
“The College has had great success and has worked hard to do so with integrity,” said Winston. “I now hope that we’ve demonstrated we can also surrender the title and applaud our competitors with grace, appreciation and dignity. The competition has gotten much stronger,” she noted, “but, ultimately, we’re not doing this for a trophy at season’s end. We’re all competing to glorify Christ and to learn, prepare and gain the experience we’ll need to serve Him in whatever roles He has in store. Everything about this season has been a joy.”
PHC Moot Court Team, 2007 Third Place, ACMA National Tournament: Coach, PHC Chancellor Michael Farris; Peter Kamakawowoole-Lindsay See; Caleb Dalton-Kirsten Winston; Jenna Lorence-Aidan Grano; Matt Roche-Kelsey Stapler; Rachel Heflin-Kawika Vellalos; Kyle Green-Holly Vradenburgh; Nick Timpe-Anne Corda; Dominique Deming-Isaiah McPeak; Will Glaser.