Mock trial makes strides in competition season

March 10, 2016 — by Katherine Zhou

The school’s mock trial team competed in the Santa Clara County High School Mock Trial Competition from Feb. 2-11 and  placed 11th overall.

The school’s mock trial team competed in the Santa Clara County High School Mock Trial Competition from Feb. 2-11 and placed 11th overall.

This was a huge improvement, as the team, coached by attorney Mary McDonnell and advised by history teacher Matt Torrens, lost all four rounds two years prior, and placed 13th last year out of 25 teams. Because only the top 10 teams advanced to the next round, the team was unable to move on to the quarterfinals. However, the defense defeated one of the top two teams that later appeared in the finals, Willow Glen.

On Feb. 9, the team faced off against Los Altos in its third round of competition, losing by only 1.4 percent. However, on Feb. 11 they defeated Silver Creek in their fourth round by 7.88 percent.

Senior Katherine Liu also won the courtroom artist award, an award given to the best drawing depicting the courtroom, for the second year in the row.

The team made many changes this year to achieve greater success.

“We definitely took a lot of the criticisms the attorneys had for us to heart, and [to] make [our performances] sound more natural,” said  junior Sarah Chang, who played the role of a pretrial attorney

Teamwork was essential in boosting the overall score, because the team is scored as a whole.

“[Focusing] on objections this year [helped the team] respond in a dignified manner,” said Peter VandeVort, a prosecution attorney. “We all worked together to make sure we could object and assist whenever possible.”

Nevertheless, participants said there is still room for improvement next year. They hope have better communication, as only seven out of the 18 members had the same position as last year, making it difficult for them to adjust. Participants also want to memorize their lines more thoroughly and take part in scrimmages with out-of-county teams that they usually do not compete against.

Ultimately, the team is proud of its performance this season.

“[Saratoga’s placement is] an incredible feat,” VandeVort said. “Seeing we lost all four rounds two years ago, this is an incredible shift.”

 
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