The Mock Trial team had the opportunity to move to the national level this past week and for the first time attend one of the biggest and most important high-school Mock Trial competitions in the nation.

But it didn’t.

Due to placing in the top four schools in the county for the past four years, the team was eligible to compete in one of two national competitions—the Providence Cup in Denver (Oct. 19-20) or the Empire City Invitational in New York City (Oct. 21-23).

The Empire City Invitational hosts the best schools, “nationwide and internationally,” while the Providence Cup attracts teams from across the country, according to head coach Jeanine Boyers.

Winners from both often continue to compete on college teams or earn scholarships, Boyers said.

But with little preparation time at the beginning of the year and many inexperienced members, not to mention that most  upperclassmen quit, the team was unable to compete.

The team has 12 students this year—roughly half the size of prior years—including only two juniors and no seniors.

And only three students—junior Sydney Jackson and sophomores Aishwarya Nadgauda and Claire Pinson—have competed as attorneys before this year, falling well short of the typical eight-person attorney team.

“It’s frustrating because a few of us were really looking forward to this and it’s a big disappointment to not be able to do it,” junior Kerina Blue said.

Jackson shares her frustration.“I wanted to have that on my college transcript,” Jackson said. “I wish we could have gone and at least tried.”

But Jackson understands that the team isn’t ready to compete.

“We don’t even have anyone that has ever given a closing argument,” she said.

But Boyers had reasons for skipping the competition other than inexperience.

“Students are involved in many other activities, and this competition takes a lot of time,” she said.

In addition, little student interest and the trip’s cost (there’s “no money in the budget for this,” Boyers said) influenced her decision.

And if the team wants to attend next year, it has to remain in the top four in the county this spring.

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