CWRU BLSA Mock Trial Team Places Second at National Constance Baker Motley Competition

BLSA Mock Trial team
From left to right: Nneka Onyekwuluje (2L), Aanya Myrie-Silburn (2L), Ryn Wayman (2L), Tyler Tipton (1L), Xavier Poplawski (1L), Thomas Lipker (1L) and McClellon Cox (Coach)

CWRU’s BLSA Mock Trial team returned from the National Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Competition (CBMMTC) in Washington, D.C. as the second-ranked BLSA mock trial team in the nation. This latest victory comes less than one month after CWRU won first place at the Midwest Regional CBMMTC in Chicago, Illinois.

From March 8-12, fifteen of the best law school mock trial teams from across the country travelled to the nation’s capital to compete in this year’s National CBMMTC. This was the first in-person National CBMMTC since 2019 due to health and safety concerns surrounding the global pandemic.

CWRU began a grueling weekend of competition with an impressive performance in the preliminary rounds, earning enough points to advance to the quarterfinals. CWRU followed up with a dominant performance in the quarterfinal round and advanced to the semifinal round. In the semifinal round of competition, CWRU faced a familiar foe in Cleveland State University. CWRU defeated CSU in a tightly-contested semifinal round, just as it had done at the regional competition just a few weeks prior. In a thrilling championship round, CWRU would put on a strong performance against the University of Maryland but, in the end, would fall short in a very close round.

“Resilient,” is how coach McClellon D. Cox (LAW ’19) described the team’s performance this year. “All year, I have been impressed with the amount of time and effort these students put in to developing their trial strategy, crafting witness examinations and learning the rules of evidence and procedure. Undoubtedly, their hard work has paid off. I could not be more proud of what the team has been able to accomplish this academic year.”

This year’s team was comprised of Nneka Onyekwuluje (2L) and Ryn Wayman (2L), who represented the prosecution, and Aanya Myrie-Silburn (2L) and Tyler Tipton (1L), who represented the defense. Thomas Lipker (1L) and Xavier Poplawski (1L) participated as a shadow team preparing both sides of the case as well as playing witnesses during practices.

“We are so proud to represent CWRU at nationals,” said Aanya Myrie-Silburn. “Not only did we compete and hone our skills, but we also had the opportunity to workshop and learn from some of the nation’s leading attorneys and politicians, including Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. We will be taking the lessons from this experience at each point in our legal careers.”

Success has not come at a premium for CWRU BLSA Mock Trial in recent years. In 2022, the team sent two trial teams to compete at the National CBMMTC. In 2021, the team won first place at the Midwest Regional CBMMTC. And, in 2019, the team won third place at both the Midwest Regional and National CBMMTCs.

BLSA Mock Trial Team