Founded in 2011, the current iteration of UMBC’s Mock Trial Program spent a decade growing from a brand new program to the #1 team in the country. UMBC defeated Yale University in April of 2021 to win the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) National Championship Tournament, and was the top-ranked team nationwide for the 2021-22 season.
UMBC Mock Trial is the most successful student organization on campus and has been the highest ranked Mock Trial program in Maryland for the last seven years. We travel across the country every season competing at and often placing in or winning the most competitive invitational tournaments in the country.
Rank: #9 (UMBC A), #232 (UMBC B)
National Championship Qualifiers: 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2017
ORCS Qualifiers: 2022, 2021, 2020 (x2), 2019, 2018 (x2), 2017 (x2), 2016, 2015
The UMBC Mock Trial Program began competing with the American Mock Trial Association during the 2011-12 season. The team returned from several years of dormancy in 2011 after the previous iteration of our program folded years earlier. The team has advanced to the Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS) for the last eight seasons (’15, ’16, ’17, ’18, ’19, ’20, ’21, ’22) and advanced two teams to ORCS in 2017, 2018 and 2020. The team advanced to the AMTA National Championship Tournament in 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022, winning the Championship in 2021.
UMBC Mock Trial fielded a team with AMTA in 2011-12 for the first time since 2006. Founding President Travis Bell had begun to lay the groundwork for the program’s return in 2010 and early 2011, and several members including current head coach Ben Garmoe joined in the fall of 2011. After the inaugural 2011-12 season, the program expanded to add a B team for the 2012-13 year, and continued to grow and develop during that season and the 2013-14 season.
The program finally broke through in 2015, as UMBC A advanced to ORCS for the first time from the Baltimore Regional. UMBC A again advanced to ORCS in 2016, and in 2017 the program took two teams to ORCS for the first time, as UMBC B advanced on an earned bid and UMBC A was close behind with an open bid.
That 2017 AMTA season didn’t end at ORCS, however, as in 2017 the program earned its first ever bid to the National Championship Tournament (NCT) in Los Angeles, CA. While the team had limited success at their first Nationals, it was a crucial moment for the history of UMBC Mock Trial, proving that UMBC could compete with schools nationwide and showing the program’s rapidly rising trajectory.
In the 2017-18 season, UMBC Mock Trial again reached new heights, as the A team took fourth place in the “A” division at the Yale Invitational – a division consisting of 24 teams from the 2017 NCT. UMBC A and B both advanced to the 2018 ORCS, with UMBC A earning a bid and UMBC B earning an open bid. Unfortunately, the season ended at the Lancaster ORCS that year, as UMBC A fought through a brutal schedule including Rounds 3 and 4 against eventual NCT qualifiers but narrowly missed earning an NCT bid.
The 2018-19 season saw even more growth and expansion, as the program fielded three teams for the first time ever. UMBC A advanced to ORCS out of the Owings Mills, MD Regional, and earned a bid to Nationals from the Williamsburg, VA ORCS. That A team wasn’t content with just going to Nationals, however, as they went 10-6 at NCT, good for an eighth place finish in their division. UMBC A had a round 4 matchup against Yale University, needing a sweep to jump Yale in the standings and advance to the National Final Round. Although UMBC won the point differential by a comfortable +13, they split the four ballots with Yale and narrowly missed advancing to the final round.
The 2019-20 season was also a successful one for the program, as the program again advanced two teams to ORCS – but this time, one of them was UMBC C, who earned the first C team ORCS bid in program history. UMBC A and B each had fantastic weekends at the Lancaster, PA ORCS, with UMBC A going 7-1 and earning a bid to the National Championship in Chicago, and UMBC B going 5-3 and narrowly missing a second bid for the program. Unfortunately, Nationals was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the season ended for UMBC and the entire Mock Trial community after ORCS.
UMBC Mock Trial returned several core members for the 2020-21 season and spent the fall learning and mastering the challenges of virtual mock trial. Unstacked teams Black, Gold and Red earned several strong tournament placements, and UMBC A had a dominant performance at Regionals. UMBC A went 8-0 at Regionals, earning a program bid to ORCS for the seventh consecutive season and posting a perfect record at an AMTA tournament for the first time in program history. UMBC A had another strong showing at ORCS, winning all four rounds and advancing to Nationals with an 8-3-1 record.
At Nationals, UMBC A had a dominant showing in their division, sweeping Patrick Henry College, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Portland. UMBC split a crucial round 3 trial with eventual division runner-up Tufts University for their only ballot losses, and advanced to the National Final Round with a tournament-best 14-2 record. In the final round, UMBC squared off with Yale University who was making their sixth consecutive appearance in the final. The eleven scoring judges split 5-5 with one tied ballot, meaning the championship came down to total points. By a margin of 1360 to 1355, UMBC defeated Yale and were named the 35th AMTA National Champion.
The 2021-22 season was another successful year for UMBC Mock Trial. UMBC A had a dominant fall showing, taking second place at both the Great American Mock Trial Invitational (GAMTI) and the Boston Tea Party. UMBC A eventually advanced to ORCS with an undefeated 8-0 performance at regionals, and finished 5-1-2 at the Cincinnati ORCS to earn our fourth consecutive bid to the National Championship Tournament. While the team narrowly missed out on a placement at Nationals, the team returned to Nationals as defending champions and finished the season with several strong rounds.
UMBC Mock Trial is one of a very small number of programs to send a competitor to Trial by Combat for four consecutive seasons. Sydney Gaskins competed at Trial by Combat in 2019, 2020, and 2021, advancing to the final round in 2020 and finishing as runner-up. Gaskins took Ethan Hudson as her second chair in 2020 and Thomas Kiley as her second chair in 2021. Thomas Azari competed at Trial by Combat in 2022, with Lauren Wotring working with him as his second chair.
On campus, UMBC Mock Trial has emerged as UMBC’s premier academic sport organization. Members of Mock Trial are leaders in the Pre-Law Society, the Shriver Center, Student Health Services, Student Government, the Career Center, and numerous other organizations and entities. Our members come from a litany of diverse backgrounds and are pursuing many different majors, from history or political science to biochemistry and mechanical engineering.
Members of Mock Trial practice 2-3 times a week during the evenings and frequently scrimmage on weekends to prepare for invitational and AMTA-sanctioned tournaments. While joining the Mock Trial team is a significant commitment, we also believe it is the best activity you can take part in at UMBC.
UMBC Mock Trial alumni have gone on to attend and graduate law school from top schools across the country, including the University of California Berkeley, Georgetown University, UCLA, Drexel University, William & Mary, the University of Maryland, and the University of Baltimore.