Moot Court team wins national tournament

The night before the Moot Court team’s national tournament in Durham, N.C., the entire 6-person team huddled together in one hotel room, weeping loudly after hearing that Justin Carr ’14, a close friend to many of them, had died. They did not know whether or not they would be able to compete in their 10-hour tournament the following day.

Less than 48 hours later, the team would be raising the first and second place trophies above their heads in a moment of tribute to Carr’s memory.

After landing in Raleigh on Friday afternoon, the team received the news that Carr had died.

The team members were so distraught that night that Moot Court coach David Hinden had to stay with them in the room until they regained their composure.

The next day, all three Harvard-Westlake teams moved out of the first round and qualified for the second day of competition at the tournament.

Sunday afternoon, in the ninth and final round of the tournament, Miranda Van Iderstine ’13 and Mazelle Etessami ’14 defeated Amita Pentakota ’14 and Aiyana White ’14, to win the first place prize.

White also received a speakers award for placing as the top 5th speaker.

The victory marked the third time a team from Harvard-Westlake has won the national tournament, which involves teams of high school students debating over a case prompt using constitutional precedents.

Each match of the tournament consisted of two teams comprised of two students.

Each team argued over the constitutionality of the offering of Miranda warnings by principals in school and the unlawful search of a Facebook, Van Iderstine said.

“[This year’s case] concerned the 4th and 5th amendments,” Van Iderstine said.

The rounds would be decided by one or two judges, except for the final round, which took place in front of a panel of legal experts who chose the winning team.

The third Harvard-Westlake team, Katie Jung ’14 and Morganne Ramsay ’14, made it to the octofinal round.

“Mr. Hinden is an amazing coach, and we couldn’t have done it without him,” Van Iderstine said.

“We were confident coming into the tournament, having been there before, and were ready to put in the work necessary to do well,” Van Iderstine said. “We all care a lot about doing Moot Court and being a part of the small community of students involved. It was pretty hard competing after finding out about Justin’s death.”

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