WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Rutgers Mock Trial Team earned one of the six bids to the National Championship Tournament given at this year’s Washington, D.C. Open Round Championship. It is the first bid to Nationals ever won by this young program. On April 13, Rutgers will head to Minneapolis, Minnesota to compete for the Mock Trial National Championship. RAM Law partner, Craig Aronow, is the team’s head coach. Kimberly Yonta, Esq. and Michael Roberts, of Buckley & Theroux, are assistant coaches. The ORC took place at the historic Prettyman Courthouse which is the District of Columbia’s Federal District Court.
The team, led by Captain, Stephanie Ashley, and fellow seniors, Jenna Przybylski and Dahoud Askar, competed this weekend in four trials, each scored by two judges. The tournament field included perennial powerhouses like the University of Maryland, Georgetown University, and the University of Virginia. On the first day of competition, Rutgers faced Swarthmore College and Lafayette College, winning three out of four ballots. On the crucial second day, the team was matched against the University of Maryland and Mary Washington University. Despite being heavy underdogs, Rutgers won three more ballots to finish with a final record of 6-2.
At the awards ceremony, team members Dahoud Askar, Jenna Przybylski , Rachel Holt, Zaniah Maynor, Travis Nunziato, Steph Ashley, and Kyle Brach anxiously awaited the announcement of the teams who would move on. The University of Virginia (8-0), George Washington University (6-2), the University of Pennsylvania (6-2), St. John’s University (6-2), and the University of Maryland (6-2) received the first five bids. When it was announced that Rutgers University had earned the last bid, the team erupted in celebration.
It has only been two months since Rutgers won its Regional Tournament, the first round of the American Mock Trial Association’s three-tier playoff system. Since then, the starting field of over 650 teams has been cut down to a mere 48. In three weeks, Rutgers will compete against the best teams in the nation for the ultimate prize: a national championship. As Mr. Askar put it, “We’re young, we’re talented, and, most of all, we’re hungry. Rutgers is coming after that National Title, and anyone is welcome to try and stop us.”