DURHAM — The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's Blue Team traveled to Durham, North Carolina this weekend to compete at Duke University's annual Tobacco Road invitational competition.
UTC entered the competition ranked 15th out of 26 teams. The rank is an improvement over last year's position of 23rd. After four rounds of stiff competition, UTC emerged with a record of 6-2 and took home the second place title.
The team faced perennial national contenders: Princeton in round one, with a 2-0 result; Furman University's A team in round two with a 2-0 result; eventual champion University of Florida's A team with a split result of 1-1; and finally, a 1-1 split with top 10 national finisher UVA-B.
"Showing up to highly competitive tournaments as the underdogs and holding our own against some of the best schools in the nation speaks to the talent and drive this team has," Said Yoni Voorhees, the program's Vice-President. "The potential shown throughout this program is undeniable and I'm positive we will only improve as the season moves forward."
The 2nd place finish marks an improvement of last year's 3rd place finish. In addition to the team honor, 2 students received individual honors. President Zeke Starr received a Top Attorney award with 19 out of 20 ranks, and Voorhees received a Top Witness award with a perfect 20 ranks.
"UTC had the hardest strength of schedule of any of the 26 teams in this tournament," said attorney Erika Hyde, one of the team's coaches. "Three of the teams they hit finished top 6. that's a testament to the team's ability to perform high level mock trial against incredibly talented teams."
Hyde went on to say that she thinks UTC's first performance of the year "proved that they are a force to be reckoned with."
Hyde isn't the only one thinking about the program going forward. "I'm confident that our program will demonstrate a strong showing as we compete against top schools in our first appearance at the Vanderbilt Grand Ole tournament," commented Voorhees.
Both of the program's teams will travel to Nashville next Friday for one of the most prestigious invitationals in the nation, receiving an invite to Vanderbilt's Grand Ole Tournament for the first time only this fall.
While considering the future, consider that last year's 3rd place finish at Duke resulted in a trip to the National Championship Tournament. If this year's showing is any indication, UTC could be bound for Minnesota in the spring for a second straight NCT appearance and a national improvement for the 3rd straight year.