This article originally appeared in the Chattanooga Times Free-Press, here. It has been edited.
For the first time in [AMTA's] 33-year history, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga competed in the national championship this weekend by the American Mock Trial Association.
The 8-member UTC team was one of 48 top teams from across the country that competed in the 3-day competition in which each team argues both sides of a mock trial. UTC competed against such top-rated colleges as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Duke, Columbia and the University of Michigan over the past three days.
The UTC team scored 3 wins and nine losses from the judges of the four mock trials UTC participated in over the past three days in Los Angeles.
"It was certainly an incredible experience for all of us and we feel very fortunate to have gotten this far and to be able to compete on this level," said Alanna Rice, a UTC senior who is one of the captains of the UTC team. "It was amazing to see the talent of some of the other teams and hopefully we learned a lot and can compete at this level again next year."
The University of Virginia is competing tonight with Yale University in the finals of the nationwide competition, which began with more than 650 college teams from across the United States. Each team argues both sides of a copyright infringement case during mock trials before attorneys who judge the teams to determine a winner.
Led by Mike Giglio, a local attorney and adjunct professor in political science and public service, and coaches Stephanie Fast, a UTC graduate, and Erika Hyde, an attorney with Miller & Martin, the UTC mock trial team qualified for the nationals after placing among the top teams in both regional and Opening Round Championship Series tournaments earlier this year. To earn a trip to LA, UTC defeated Notre Dame, Hillsdale College, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Millsaps College, Michigan State, and the Middle Tennessee State University.
The UTC mock trial team is headed by co-captains Alanna Rice , a UTC senior, and Zeke Starr, a junior. Other team members included senior Ethan Greene, junior Yoni Voorhees, sophomores Mike Boehm and Eliott Geary and freshmen Madison Bennett and Peter Zeglen.
Hyde, who competed on a Mock Trial team while a student at Vanderbilt, said her experience encouraged her to pursue her law degree at Duke University and to now practice commercial law at Miller & Martin.
"Mock trial was a great experience for me so I was eager to help out with the UTC program," she said of her experience coaching the UTC team.
The weekend competition included 450 competitors who were judged and scored by a total of more than 380 attorneys and judges.
Founded in 1985, the American Mock Trial Association is the governing body for intercollegiate mock trial competitions. Each year, more than 5,000 undergraduate students compete in AMTA-sanctioned tournaments.