UMBC’s Mock Trial program has been through a lot in a few short years. And while there have been teaching moments and triumphs along the way, above all else our program has exemplified the best things about being a Retriever: grit and greatness.
This photo of our trophy case is a perfect time capsule of the short but exciting history of our program. In the early 2000s, Dr. Jeffrey Davis started the first iteration of UMBC Mock Trial. Those teams competed in AMTA-competitions until 2007, when the program entered a period of hiatus. In 2011, the team returned with an entirely new set of students and coaches. Dr. Davis continued to serve as the team’s faculty sponsor, and during the 2011-12 season, UMBC Mock Trial rejoined the AMTA framework of competitive mock trial. Our first three seasons were formative years, as we built support on campus, cultivated new members to lead the program, and established relationships with invitational tournaments around the region.
From there, it was about growth. As nearly everyone from the first few years graduated or moved on from the team, our newer members worked their way up the leadership ladder. On a campus full of nerds (yes, that part of UMBC’s reputation is 100% accurate), we saw an opening to find talented students on campus who wanted to work harder and compete more. That effort – one born of breaking into buildings during winter break to practice and getting up at 5am in sub-freezing weather to drive to Philadelphia for the third weekend in a row – culminated in the program’s first Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS) bid in 2015, snagging a bid out of the Baltimore regional.
There are a lot of programs out there who go to ORCS and Nationals every season, and we intend to become one of those programs very soon. But even as our trophy case fills up and our program expands and reaches new heights, we’ll never forget hearing our name called for that first bid. For members who had been through challenging seasons, and for coaches and alumni who were there since the beginning, it was validation for countless hours of hard work. Our diversity of thought and experience, combined with an ever-growing willingness to work hard every day to improve, has brought success at a faster rate than many of us thought was possible.
Grit and greatness. Come be a part of UMBC Mock Trial, and that’s what you’ll find.