Sonoma Valley High School’s Mock Trial team continued a tradition of success and excellence winning the Napa County Mock Trial Competition for the sixth year in a row. The competition consisted of five teams: New Tech, Vintage High School, Napa High School, Justin-Siena and SVHS.
The SVHS team begins preparing for the three-day competition in September, when they receive the case and start reading it and assigning roles. According to Delaney Gold-Diamond, senior, once the roles have been assigned and the scripts written, it’s time to, “memorize, memorize, memorize. Some of the team members can rattle off 10 to 15 minutes of script.”
She describes Mock Trial as “a combination of a play and debate,” because, although the teams write scripts and memorize them, they are arguing the case against other teams, and have to react and counter-argue the other teams’ positions.
After winning the competition in Napa, the SVHS team went on to compete at the state competition, March 21 to 23, at the San Jose County Court House.
Janet Hansen, Mock Trial team advisor, explained that although they start working in September, it’s not until December, and after the winter break, that it becomes more intensive, with the team meeting multiple times a week and during Wednesday lunches.
Christina Uzzo, senior, said that what distinguishes Mock Trial teams from other teams, especially at the state level, is “having difficult cross examination questions, strong witnesses and eliminating buzz-words that will be objected.”
There were 34 teams at the state competition, composed of the best school from each county. Last year, SVHS came in eighth, deeming them the eighth best team in the state. This year, they came in 23rd, but competed against some very challenging teams.
Hansen said that since the team is “mostly comprised of seniors,” they will need a new group of underclassmen to join next year.
For students looking for a fun and challenging activity that will enrich their education and academic resumes, they should talk to Hansen, or to any of the current team members.
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Madeline Cline is a Sonoma Valley High School senior.