2020-2021 Moot Court

Ohio Wesleyan Students Participate in Regional Competition

By Cole Hatcher

Alexis Henson ’21 was a Top 10 orator in Cleveland regional Moot Court competition this season.

Eleven Ohio Wesleyan University students participated in regional competition as part of the American Collegiate Moot Court Association’s 2020-2021 tournament, with OWU senior Alexis Henson ranking among the Top 10 orators this fall in Cleveland competition.

“This was an unusual and challenging year as all our meetings and tournaments were online due to the virus,” said Moot Court coach Michael Esler, Ph.D., an OWU professor of politics and government.

“But the unusual circumstances also created opportunities for a greater number of competitions and to compete against teams across the nation without the time and costs of traveling,” said Esler, who also serves as OWU’s pre-law advisor. “We created the infrastructure for future online competitions in the practice rounds even as we look forward to a return to in-person competition for the regional and national tournaments.”

Mike Esler, Moot Court coach

Ohio Wesleyan’s Moot Court participants competed as two-person teams at invitational events at Ohio Northern University and Colorado Christian College and at the Cleveland-Marshall Regional at Cleveland State University.

In regional competition:

The teams of Paige Ross and Anne Miner and of Walker Nilan and Austin Plaster finished in the sweet sixteen, Esler said. “The veteran Ross-Miner team missed the elite eight round by fewer than 10 points out of a total of 800 possible points,” he said. “This was the first year of competition for the Nilan-Plaster team.”

The veteran team of Alexis Henson and Audrey Homlar “barely missed making it to the round of 16,” Esler said, “and Henson earned individual honors by ranking in the top 10 orators.”

Participating in regionals for the first time, the teams of Federico Mata and Danny Sanders and of Eliza Richardson and Avery Newcom “performed well and earned hard-fought victories in several preliminary rounds.”

OWU student Anna Nacci was paired with a student from Saginaw Valley State University to form a hybrid team that competed in the Great Lakes Tournament at Saginaw Valley State, Esler said. Nacci’s team reached the round of 8 before losing a close match in single-elimination rounds.

“Not only was Nacci competing in her first moot competition,” Esler said, “she is one of only three OWU students who has ever competed as a first-year student.”

“Every one of our teams scored victories in two or more rounds in very competitive tournaments,” Esler said. “They were disciplined and worked hard, often under trying circumstances as several team members had to deal with quarantine protocols that limited their preparation during the semester. A number of these students will be returning next year and will form the nucleus of that team.”

The American Collegiate Moot Court Association Tournament is the largest intercollegiate moot court organization in the United States. Last year, more than 475 teams registered for competition.

Students interested in joining Ohio Wesleyan’s moot court team should contact Esler at mvesler@owu.edu.