The 2022-23 Mock Trial season concluded last week and Patrick Henry College finished again in the top 1% in the nation. PHC was one of only seven schools to advance two teams to the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) National Championship Tournament this month—PHC's 3rd year in a row for achieving this distinction! Additionally, PHC is one of only two institutions to have two teams in the nation in the top 20.
More than 700 teams competed in the AMTA competition—including powerhouse institutions like Harvard, Yale, Tufts, and University of Chicago. Only 48 teams earned a chance to compete for the national championship, which was hosted this month at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN.
PHC’s Mock Trial teams claimed eighth place and honorable mention titles at the AMTA National Championship Tournament. Senior Allyn Sims, who played plaintiff in the legal malpractice case, won an All-American Witness award. Amber (A) team earned 8th place in their division with a record of 7-5, and the Navy (B) team earned Honorable Mention in their division with a record of 6-6. PHC is the only school to have two teams earn trophies in each of the last three years!
Three of our students fell just shy of earning additional All-American Awards: Allyn Sims as a defense attorney; Nik Frey (Navy team) as a defense attorney; and GraceAnna Schmidt (Navy team) as a witness.
While the teams' successes in trial were gratifying, even more encouraging were the students' character and demeanor throughout the weekend. Both teams prayed before each round that they would compete with excellence and honor the Lord in their interactions with opposing teams, judges, spectators, and volunteers.
Their love for each other and heart for the Lord were ever-present and clear, and they responded to adversity with grace and humor. The friendships they made with each other and with students on opposing teams will last long after the memories of trophies and placements have been forgotten.
Congratulations to alumni coaches Elizabeth Ertle and Sam Johnson (Amber team) and Kyle Ziemnick (Navy team) on a strong finish to an exciting season! Their investment in and care for their students were absolutely critical to the teams' success.
So just how has the 2022-23 season been a standout for all three of PHC's forensics programs? Here's a quick overview.
Civic Debate is having its best season on record. PHC students claimed the National Championship title at the annual Schuman Challenge on March 30-31, sponsored by the European Union’s delegation to the United States of America. Students from 26 other schools presented policy proposals before international ambassadors and policymakers. After months of preparation, competitors are given ten minutes to present and discuss their proposals with the judges. “It’s the real deal,” McDonald said. “It’s exclusively paneled and judged by people who live and breathe and are active players in international policy.”
In addition, PHC debaters Benjamin Spivey and Aiden Forbes won the NCCFA IPDA National Debate championship, and the team as a whole won the NCCFA “Quality” award. Last weekend, Jesse Castrinos and Zeke Johnson won the Novice Championship at the Miami Oceans Debate, while senior Sarah Schmidtler won the 2nd place speaker award.
PHC scored several victories at the AMCA National Moot Court Tournament on January 15, including Patrick Henry College's 13th Oral Advocacy championship in 18 years. According to Coach Peter Kamakawiwoole, winning team Hope Rawlson and Isaac Bock’s final ballot score of 95.24% was “one of the three greatest single-season records ever, if not the greatest.” Additionally, Calvin Huh and Hope Turner won first place in brief writing. PHC teams received more bids than the program could send to nationals.
“I’m never surprised to see PHC students win,” said McDonald. He hopes PHC students continue to qualify for national tournaments, even if they don’t come out on top. “I want to see those multiple placements, showcasing that we have a diverse panel of talent,” McDonald said.
“We’re really happy that all the students’ hard work has resulted in those kinds of recognitions,” Johnson said. “But even more than that, the skill they’re gaining and the character they’re developing through the process is what it’s all about.” She attributes PHC’s victories to the investment of alumni coaches, students’ hard work, and God’s graciousness.