Final mock trial team picked

October 27, 2008 — by Anna Shen and Abhishek Venkataramana

After four days of waiting, 24 anxious students rushed to the door of English teacher Bill Peck’s room on Oct. 17 to learn if they had been selected as participants of the 2008 Mock Trial Team.

Tryouts took place in Peck’s room on Oct. 13 with 24 students fighting for 20 slots. Each student took on the role of three different positions—witness, prosecution attorney and defense attorney—in order to simulate an actual mock trial.

“Many people signed up for mock trial this year, so tryouts were much more competitive than in past years,” said co-captain senior Rishi Taggarsi. “The tryouts were very cutthroat, but I know that the resulting team will be very well-qualified for the competition in February.”

Besides Peck, who has four years of coaching experience, the team is coached by Dr. Hugh Roberts, a retired attorney who has been a part of the Saratoga High team since its formation, chose the new team members based on their performances in personifying assigned witnesses and their abilities to adapt to new situations quickly. Based on their strengths, students were selected to play the part of either a witness or a prosecution, defense or pretrial attorney.

“I saw a lot of raw talent during the tryouts,” said Peck. “This season looks really promising.”

This year’s case is an arson trial involving a resident living in a small community, who is accused of intentionally burning the property of a spiritual movement called the New Believers. The team will have four months to practice their assigned roles until the county mock trial competitions begin in February.

“The case is pretty interesting with the classic situation of he-said-she-said,” said senior attorney Lisa Chang. “I think it will be exciting to see how everything plays out.”

Peck hopes to assist the team witnesses by giving them tips on how to authentically impersonate a witness; whereas, Dr. Roberts hopes to use his knowledge in law to help the team attorneys understand legal concepts and issues.

“I’m very confident in our mock trial team this year,” said Chang. “We have a lot of work to do, but there’s so much potential and talent; it’s going to be a great year.”

The mock trial team includes seniors Nikil Balakrishnan, Lisa Chang, Guy Quanrud, Rishi Taggarsi and Tim Tsai, juniors Flora Chang, Derrick Chen, Kavya Nagarajan, Varun Parmar, Saniha Shankar, Alex Song and Jason Yoon, and sophomores Shannon Galvin, Vance Lindholm, Vijay Menon, Navneet Ramesh, Soorya Rangan, Tim Rollinson, Nandini Ruparel and Abhishek Venkataramana.

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