With the Thanksgiving holiday over and final exams fast approaching, Loyola has just one tournament left in the fall semester. The Midwest Challenge, hosted by the University of St. Francis, has rounded out the fall tournament slate for the past five years and has been the most successful of all invitationals for the program. Loyola has won the tournament three times (2006, 2008, 2009), finished second and third in 2010, and has finished at least in the top ten in 8 of 10 combined attempts. 495 and 494 will look to continue the trend this weekend!
For the first time in Loyola history, the ISU Invitational championship is in the hands of the Ramblers. 494 recovered from a first round split to sweep their remaining rounds en route to the first place finish. With the win, it has now been five straight seasons in which Loyola has won at least one tournament championship. All teams are in action next weekend, with one team traveling to Pittsburgh for the Steel City Invitational and two teams traveling to Iowa City for the University of Iowa Cornshucker Invitational.
In the middle of five straight weekends of competition, Loyola Mock Trial has been very busy. Results for most tournaments are on the results page, but there are many highlights worth mentioning.
University of Pittsburgh Steel City Invitational
In Loyola's first ever appearance at the Steel City Invitational, 494 was unable to continue their momentum from winning the ISU tournament the week before. The team dropped two close ballots to eventual tournament champion George Washington in the first round, putting them in a hole from which they couldn't recover. After winning two ballots against Eastern Kentucky in round two, 494 suffered a harsh +11, -1 split against George Washington's second team before dropping both ballots in round four to Cornell University. It was the toughest schedule 494 has faced yet this year, and despite the results they showed they will be ready for the top national competition by springtime. University of Iowa
Snapping a string of disappointing finishes by the program in the past two Cornshuckers, 495 used their first appearance in the Cornshucker Challenge to fire a warning shot to the Midwest. With a 6-2 record the team claimed 3rd place, barely missing out on second place on a double tie-breaker. They swept ballots from Fordham, Ohio State, and Loras, dropping ballots only to tournament champion Northwestern. 496, impacted by losing two competitors the week of the tournament, lost ballots to a slate of Iowa teams (Loras, Drake, and Iowa) before winning two ballots against St. Ambrose to salvage a 2-6 record.
Fantastic Flyer Invitational
Loyola is used to success at the Flyer, winning Lewis University's annual tournament in 2007, 2009, and 2010. For this year's fifth annual event, it was up to 494 and 496 to make it three championships in a row (and four out five) for the Ramblers. 496 almost pulled it off, finishing a stunning 7-1 in 2nd place, the highest finish for 496 in Loyola University Mock Trial history. 496 took two ballots from Illinois State in round one, split with another Illinois State team in round two, and then went 2-0 against Lewis and Elgin on the second day. Seven wins was enough to tie Northwestern for the best record, but 496 fell just short in the strength of schedule tiebreaker. 494 rebounded from their last tournament to go 5-3, good enough for 8th place. 494 split with Lewis in round one, went 2-0 against Carthage College in round two, and then split with both Northwestern and Illinois State. The results made it clear that Loyola has the depth to field three very competitive teams.
Great American Mock Trial Invitational
For the second year in a row and third time in four years, Loyola spent the first weekend of November in Washington, D.C., at the nation's premiere invitational hosted by our friends from the East, the University of Virginia. This year 495 started slow, going 1-2 against both Macalester and Michigan in the first two rounds before beating George Washington 3-0 in round three. Unfortunately, for the second time at GAMTI the team dropped all three ballots in the fourth round, this time to Washington & Lee, to finish 5-7. Against tough competition, the 13th place finish left 495 feeling confident that they will be able to hold their own against the nation's best once the post-season rolls around.
Robert E. Sanders Invitational
After finding much success at the annual tournament hosted by Eastern Kentucky University when Loyola first started attending four years ago, Lexington has been tough on the Ramblers in the past two years. 495 faced a schedule of top 20 teams, splitting with Cincinatti, winning two ballots against Furman, and splitting twice with Miami-Ohio's two teams. The 5-3 record was enough to place 8th for the second year in a row. 494 split with Vanderbilt to start the weekend, lost two ballots to Middle Tennessee, and split with Cincinnati and Furman on day two to finish 3-5.
Columbia University Big Apple Invitational
For the first time ever Loyola headed to New York City for one of the country's top invitational tournaments. The competition lived up to its billing, as Loyola faced some of the Northeast's heavyweights. 495 split with Cornell University, Tufts, and Columbia University in the first three rounds before taking both against Swarthmore to finish 5-3 in 7th place.
Ohio State Scarlet & Gray Invitational
Loyola kicked off the season with the Scarlet & Gray Invitational in Columbus, Ohio. With freshmen making up the bulk of the rosters, 495 went 6-2 to finish 5th, while 494 went 5-3 to claim 8th. 495 won two against Ohio Northern, split with Illinois, won two against Illinois' other team, and split with Miami-Ohio. 494 took two ballots from Michigan State, split with Eastern Michigan, and split with both of Northwood's teams. Overall it was a quality start for the Ramblers on their quest to make it to Minneapolis in April.