Patrick Henry College
Kayla Griesemer and Blake Meadows
Adding another title to an unprecedented championship legacy, Patrick Henry College has won a sixth consecutive ACMA (American Collegiate Moot Court Association) National Moot Court Championship, bringing its total to eight titles in the past ten years. This year’s winning team was Blake Meadows and Kayla Griesemer (both seniors). Kayla has already been admitted to Harvard Law School for next year.
Competing against an intensely competitive line-up of colleges and universities like the University of Virginia, Wheaton College, Texas A&M, and the U.S. Air Force Academy, PHC defeated the runner-up team of Ashley Hall and Kyle Maury from California State University, Long Beach.
The PHC team of Claire Rossell and Cameron Etchart were semifinalists, and Ashlyn Olson and Jacob Van Ness (both freshmen) made it to the quarterfinals round. Claire and Cameron also won second place respondent brief, and Joseph Samelson and Courtney Ngai won first place petitioner brief.
“I hope this victory never becomes commonplace or assumed,” Chancellor and moot court coach Mike Farris. “I spoke with Congressman Mark Meadows (father of champion Blake), who told me that he was sharing our string of victories with a fellow member of Congress who had done moot court in law school. That member told him that moot court is so subjective, that this level of success is practically unheard of.
“The competition is getting stronger every year,” he continued. “And people are certainly aiming at us.”
In what has become an almost a routine statistic heading toward nationals, held January 17-18 at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, Patrick Henry was once again the only college that qualified the maximum number of eight teams. The College actually qualified 14 teams but can only take eight. The next closest competitor qualified six teams.
At nationals in Arizona, seven of PHC’s eight teams made it to the playoff rounds, and in the round of the top 32 teams in the nation, seven were from Patrick Henry. In the round of 16, five were from PHC; in the Round of 8, three were from PHC; in the semi-final round of four, two were from PHC, and PHC won the national championship.
The College also won a division of the brief writing national championship and came in second in the other division.
“One of the hurdles we faced,” said Dr. Frank Guliuzza, co-coach of the moot team, “is that our teams were constantly hitting each other in the playoff rounds. In the sweet 16 of the playoffs, the defending national champion, Katie Tipton, and her partner, John Ehrett, hit this year’s champions, Kayla and Blake.”
Kayla and Blake with their moot court coaches.
“On the final day of competition we were in 21 rounds,” added Dr. Farris. “We won 15 and lost six, yet three of our losses were in rounds where a PHC team competed against and defeated another team from PHC. Of competitions in the tournament where PHC teams went up against other schools, we only lost three of 18 matches. The strength of our program is not found merely in the top winner, but in the team’s depth and breadth.”
Observed Dr. Guliuzza about the national winning streak, “People have asked, ‘What’s the most meaningful part of the string of victories?’ I guess, for me, seeing the looks on our students’ faces on the podium is incredibly moving. But just as meaningful is when their parents come up afterwards and, with hugs and tears, thank us for the opportunity that PHC provides for their children. That truly blesses my heart.”
National Champion: Patrick Henry College
Kayla Griesemer/Blake Meadows
National Runner-up: California State University, Long Beach
Ashley Hall /Kyle Maury
The Final Four: Patrick Henry College
Claire Rossell/Cameron Etchart
The Elite Eight: Patrick Henry College
Ashhyn Olson/Jacon Van Ness
The Sweet 16: Patrick Henry College
John Ehrett/Katie Tipton
Ruan Meintjes/Ryan McDonald
The Top 32: Patrick Henry College
Josh Schow/Gregory Monk
Samuel Johnson/Elizabeth Ertle
Brief Writing Competition:
1) Courtney Ngai/Joseph Samelson – Patrick Henry College
2) John Roach/ Alexander Grieser— University of Virginia
1) Ashley Hall/Kyle Maury—California State University, Long Beach
2) Cameron Etchart/Claire Rossell—Patrick Henry College