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MSMC students compete in Moot Court Regionals

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Karla Ballestaros ’17, Melanie Sava ’17, Claudia Garcia ’14 and Viridiana Aceves ’14 at this year’s Moot Court competition in Long Beach, Calif.

Mount St. Mary’s College placed three student-counsels in the Top 20 at the Western Regionals of the American Collegiate Moot Court Association.

The Mount sent two teams (of two students each) to this year’s competition, and the College’s first-year tandem of Melanie Sava ’17 and Karla Ballestaros ’17 made it to the final day of the tournament, held December 6-7 at California State University, Long Beach.

“I could not be more proud of this team,” says Dr. Helen Boutrous, chair of the Mount’s History & Political Science department and the College’s Moot Court adviser. “They worked very hard all semester long, and supported each other throughout the process. Moot Court competition is a very challenging and rewarding experience for students. Students must be able to engage in complex analysis on their feet, under much pressure.”

Sava (12th), Ballestaros (18th) and Claudia Garcia ’14 (13th) all finished in the Top 20. The fourth member of this year’s student-counsel team was Viridiana Aceves ‘14, a veteran of the 2012 regionals where she also advanced to the final day of competition.

The season-ending Western Regionals offered a final opportunity to argue before judges in a simulated appellate court setting. Fifty-six students from 10 schools argued their cases during the tournament. All four competing MSMC students are pursuing a degree in political science at the Mount, with pre-law minors.

“I will miss our two graduating seniors very much,” Boutrous says. “Claudia and Viri have been at the heart and soul of this team and our department. They will be wonderful ambassadors for Mount St. Mary’s. I am heartened by having two wonderful freshman, Melanie and Karla, who will carry on the proud and winning tradition of the College’s Moot Court team in the years ahead.”