By Sarah Pride, with reporting by Brett Harris (PHC Herald, 11/19/10)
Patrick Henry College
Chancellor Dr. Michael Farris (left) with Fitchburg moot court competitors. Front row with trophies (L to R): Aaron Kamakawiwoole, Alan Carrillo, Shannon Healy, Andrew Ferguson
“The growth of the league is encouraging,” said PHC Chancellor, Dr. Michael Farris, the College’s founding moot court coach. “We see more schools and more well-known schools joining the tournaments this year. We met teams from Princeton, Duke, Syracuse University, all of whom are relatively new to the league. We’re definitely seeing more teams that are well prepared, which helps prepare our students even better for what lies ahead.
“Of course,” he added, “while we’re happy about growing closeness of the competition, I’m still gratified that we continue to come out on top.”
“We expected it to be a rebuilding year for our team,” added Dr. Guliuzza, noting that a number of last year’s most driven moot court competitors graduated in May.
The first surprise for the team, freshmen Kayla Griesemer and Blake Meadows won the ACMA regional tournament hosted at Regent University, despite the two having failed to break into final rounds during PHC’s intramural tournament earlier in the semester. In order to win, the two freshmen had to defeat a team from Duke University and six other PHC teams, including second-place match-up Bridget Degnan and Tait Deems.
“Blake and Kayla were really impressive,” Dr. Guliuzza said. “They were not the most experienced team, but they had the toughest row to hoe that you can get.”
This past weekend, November 19-20, seven more PHC moot court teams traveled to regional tournaments at Fitchburg State College in Massachusetts and the University of Tampa in Florida. All broke into the second level of competition, with PHC teams eventually landing first and second places at each tournament. Senior Aaron Kamakawiwoole and junior Alan Carrillo won at Fitchburg over PHC senior Shannon Healy and sophomore Andrew Ferguson, who placed second, while seniors Jonathan Carden and Joanna Griffith edged out juniors Alex and Brett Harris in Tampa.
One regional tournament remains, in the first weekend of December, but PHC already has received more than the maximum number of team bids to the national tournament in January. The College’s moot court teams have won four out of the past six ACMA (American Collegiate Moot Court Association) national championships.
“What we did is what we needed to do,” Dr. Guliuzza sums up. “I think we’re in a position to contend for another championship. Another team could still win. But we have a good shot.”