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Home > Legal Debaters Shine at Nationals

Moot Court Nationals Flooded with PHC Teams

January 31st, 2008

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 338-8727


Dr. Michael Farris waits for announcements

Burnishing its reputation as a legal debate juggernaut, Patrick Henry College’s moot court team excelled once again at the national ACMA moot court tournament in Iowa, January 18-19, capturing second place for individual team, while earning more trophies overall than any other college. For the fourth straight year, PHC’s legal debaters flooded the finals with national-class competitors, achieving six of the top eight team awards, first place petitioner brief, and all top three places for respondent briefs. Having qualified the maximum of eight teams for Nationals, all of which broke into final competition, three more PHC students served as substitutes on teams from other colleges, two of which made it to final rounds as well.

“By the final out rounds, it was essentially PHC competing against PHC,” recalled Chancellor Michael Farris, PHC’s moot court coach.

In a close decision, a noteworthy slate of Iowa judges ruled 3-2 against seniors Will Glaser and Rebekah Ries, awarding first place in the tournament to a team from Wooster College. PHC teams settled into second through fourth places underneath.

“I’m very glad about our second place,” grinned Glaser, who is also student body president, “but, for the sake of the team, I wanted to beat [Wooster].”

Kawika Vellalos and Rachel Heflin, fourth place team

The College’s fall tournament tally included first-place individual speaker trophies at all four regional tournaments that PHC entered. Individual members swept all ten of the top individual speaker awards at the MidAtlantic Regional Tournament at Regent University, with its moot teams capturing the top five spots as well.

PHC moot courters have achieved impressive success in a growing league while maintaining a Christ-like attitude. Eight years ago, less than 20 teams competed in the moot court league nationwide. This year, 198 teams tried to qualify for Nationals. Sixty-four made it in, from 28 separate schools. In October, PHC hosted a small tournament at the College specifically to help the University of North Carolina qualify, and in Iowa, PHC team members were delighted to see participants from UNC competing.

“This is one of our goals—to promote the league, which provides better competition for the long haul,” explains Dr. Michael Farris, head coach for the moot court team and Chancellor of PHC.

Lindsay See, Assistant Moot Court Coach and PHC grad in 2007, applauds the spirit of sportsmanship in her team. “I like to see members get excited for others, even when they themselves cannot proceed in competition.”

PHC students who traveled to nationals were: Rachel Heflin, Kawika Vellalos, Peter Kamakawiwoole, Holly Vradenburgh, Kelsey Stapler, Joseph Alm, Brianna Edelblut, Ben Sayre, Rachel Blum, Aidan Grano, Carmen Pettus, Jonathen Carden, Caleb Dalton, Daniel Watson, Will Glaser, Rebekah Ries, Krystal Brunner, Anna Acamazzo, and Justin Jenkins.