This year's Topeka Regional tournament was a more harrowing experience than usual. While 494 easily recovered from a first round split to finish 7-1, 495 stumbled to a 5-3 record and finished in 8th place - one spot behind the 7th place they needed for a direct bid to ORCS.
494 split in round one against Air Force (+3, -1), but swept the final three rounds against Colorado (+8, +2), Washburn (+8, +5), and Northwest Missouri State (+26, +20). The 7-1 record was tied for the best of the tournament, but their 11 strength of schedule placed them second behind Colorado College (strength: 19.5). 495 started strong, winning both ballots against Columbia College (+12, +6) and Washburn (+16, +21). The trouble started in round three, however, when they lost both ballots to South Dakota (-5, -20). Needing to win both ballots in round four against Washburn to advance, they could only manage a split (+3, -2). The 5-3 record tied for the last place to earn a direct bid to ORCS, but their 16.5 strength of schedule was one less than Creighton's strength, so the team was left empty-handed at the awards ceremony.
496 competed in Joliet a week later, needing to earn a regionals bid to ensure Loyola the maximum ORCS bids. Things started poorly with two losses to Washington University-St.Louis (-2, -12), but the team got back on track with +6 and +11 victories against St. Norbert. The team split the final two rounds against Michigan (+2, -5) and Lewis (+9, -11). Despite a whopping 22.5 strength of schedule (half a ballot shy of the Loyola record), the 4-4 finish was not enough to earn a bid to ORCS.
The Ramblers' hopes were then placed in 495's corner as everyone waited to see if there would be a second chance at ORCS via the Open Bid List. Fortunately, 495's record was enough to earn an Open Bid, thus giving Loyola Mock Trial the maximum number of bids to the first round of national tournaments for the ninth straight season. 494 and 495 will now compete at the Hamilton ORCS March 14-16.