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The Western Regional at CSULB

The Western Regional at CSULB:

CSULB has hosted all nine Western Regional Moot Court Tournaments. The CSULB team of Hartnett and Hall won the Regional crown in 2002-03 and finished as runner’s up in 2003-04. CSULB students Tyson Thomas and Nina Flores were runners up in 2002-03. In 2003-04 Garciela Almada-Tavlavera and Jalyn Wang reached the tournament’s semi-finals. In 2004-05 Katelyn North and Annmarie Banchero and in 2005-06 Katelyn North and Morgan Wheeler in 2005-06 reached the quarter-finals.  In 2006-07, the hybrid team of Michalyn Thomas (CSULB) and Will Glaser (Patrick Henry College) made it to the regional semi-finals. In 2007-08, a hybrid of Mason Lawrence Taylor (CSULB) and Anna Accomazzo (Patrick Henry College) reached the regional’s quarter-finals.  That same year, three CSULB teams advanced to the regional’s sweet sixteen.  These teams paired Paige McCormack and Muhammad Ataya, Melissa Sanchez and Ted McNamara, and Cody Fitch and Ryan Mommaerts.  In 2008-09, CSULB had two teams advance to the quarter-finals and a third reach the round of 16.  Those three teams took all but one of the 28 ballots cast in their Friday rounds.  The quarter-finalists were Heather Pegg and Tim Appelbaum and Laila Nikaien and Reema Abboud.  The additional CSULB team to reach the elimination rounds was that of Nicole Wilson and Edgar Gutierrez. 

In 2009-10, CSULB advanced a record five teams to elimination rounds PLUS a hybrid of Katie McHale (CSULB) and Kyle Lee (Chapman  University).  The team of Tim Appelbaum and Reema Abboud, which finished third, became the first CSULB team since 2003-4 to advance to the semi-finals.   Appelbaum and Abboud became just the second and third students in CSULB history to earn multiple bids to the national tournament and the only two CSULB students to earn multiple automatic bids to the national tournament.   CSULB students Jillian Ewan/Ryan King, Richard Bosanko/Kyle Bourne, Ashlie Brillault/Jose Reynoso, and Katie McHale (along with  Chapman University’s Kyle Lee) advanced to the Elite Eight.  Also advancing to elimination rounds were Amy Price and Matthew Gunter.

2010’s Western Regional was a regional to remember:  it featured rain, a power outage, a visit from former Governor George Deukmejian, and another strong performance from CSULB.  Four CSULB teams and a CSULB-Champan hybrid advanced to elimination rounds.  Jillian Ewan and Aaron Sibley reached the semi-finals.  Tim Appelbaum/Alex Lohman and Reema Abboud/Andrew Klein advanced to the quarter-finals.  Matthew Gunter/Jose Reynoso and Richard Bosanko/Kyle Lee qualified for the sweet 16.  Appelbaum and Abboud earned bids to their third national tournament.  Both Appelbaum and Abboud finished their careers unbeaten in the nine regional preliminary rounds that they competed.  In fact, both Appelbaum and Abboud captured all but ONE of the 30-32 ballots cast in the nine preliminary rounds in which they competed between 2008 and 2010.

The Western Regional has historically between very competitive and has earned a reputation as one of the best in the nation. In fact, in the years since its inception of the Western Regional has produced three national champions in 2003, 2004, and 2006, (no other regional has produced more than two in that time), four finalists (2003, 2004, 2006, and 2008), and six semi-finalists (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010).  To date, the regional has hosted teams from California, Utah, Idaho, Virginia, Minnesota, Texas, Iowa, Arkansas, Wisconsin, and Montana.

The Western Regional began in 2002 with ten teams (all from CSULB). Professor Renee Cramer was the Chair or Director and Professor Lewis Ringel was the Vice-Chair or Deputy Director. There were about 15 to 20 judges and the entire event was finished in one evening. All ten teams earned prizes. The winning team of Tommy Hartnett and Ja’Nene Hall defeated Tyson Thomas and Nina Flores. Hartnett and Hall went on to finish first at the American Collegiate Moot Court Association National Championship. Subsequent regional champions have come from University of Texas at Arlington (2003), Patrick Henry College (PHC) (2004-2005, 2008 and 2009), Weber State (2006), and Drake (2007). The teams of Hartnett and Hall (CSULB 2002-03), Andrew Stubblefield and Mark Melton (UTA 2003-04), and Brian Wright and Rachael Williams (PHC) (2005-06) have been crowned as national champions. Hartnett and Hall and Wright and Williams are the only teams to reach the Western Regional finals in consecutive years and Knight and Williams are the only Western Regional champion to successfully defend their title. The Weber State team of Danielle Stout and Veronica Lynaugh, an eight-seed after the preliminaries, won the 2006 title after completing three straight upsets in the quarter-finals. A Drake team of Katherine Wiley and Siva Kasinathan captured the 2007 crown in a thrilling 5-4 ruling that featured a court of two federal judges and one state judge.  2008 featured an all Patrick Hernry Colleges finals.   The ten seed, Paul Sellers and Jenna Lorence, defeated the number two seed of Rachel Blum and Noah Oberlander. 

In 2009, the PHC team of Brianna Edelblut and Joseph Alm defeated fellow PHC teammates Robert Kelly and James Mieldling.  CSULB’s Appelbaum and Abboud finished third, while Noah Oberlander (in his third straight Western Regional final four) and Stephanie Monk finished fourth.  The final panel was judged by The Honorable Justice Paul Turner, The Honorable Ross Judge Klein, Dean of the Chapman University School of Law John Eastman, Assistant San Diego County District Attorney Jalyn Wang, and Ashley Vinson (Akin, Gump, and Strauss).  Turner and Wang are CSULB alumnists. 

PHC won its third straight (and fifth overall) Western Regional in 2010.  The final four was diverse – featuring teams from PHC (Logan Speena and Adam Fisher), CSU-Fullerton (Amy Baily and Steven Simpson), The College of the Holy Cross (Erica Rocha and Jeff Lord), and CSULB (Jillian Ewan and Aaron Sibley).  Judges included a number of prominent public figures – most notably former Governor George Deukmejian, and California Court of Appeals Justices Paul Turner and Michael Nott.