“All rise!” sophomore Arvind Krishnan bellowed in a vaulted 13th-floor courtroom of the US District Court.
As the crowd rose to its feet for the consolation round of finals for the Gordon D. Schaber competition a marked silence filled the air.
After six months of work, the Country Day team got fourth place, one of the higher scores it has ranked in the nine years it has been competing in the GDS competition.
“It feels so great to know everything that we could do is done,” sophomore Shriya Nadgauda who played T.M. Little said.
“It’s been so stressful these last few weeks. I’m so excited to be able to start on homework at a normal hour and not at 10 p.m. every night!”
The Country Day team lost to Kaleo Homeschool. Last year, Kaleo beat Country Day in the same round, leaving the team to fourth place.
Even though the team knew the fact materials after three weeks of competition, the round was still challenging.
A large hurdle to overcome was the judge.
“Our judge didn’t really like us that much,” Nadgauda said.
Senior George Cvetich felt similarly.
“I don’t think she had a bias about us so much as maybe a preconceived notion about how we went about the trial,” Cvetich said.
During the direct examination of Marty McCulloch, both sides showed their fluency with the case materials.
Cvetich and the lead attorney for Kaleo sparred over McCulloch’s position as either an expert or lay (non-expert) witness as well as the exhibit.
The witness on the stand (McCulloch) was not the witness who seized the exhibits and marked them. Therefore, he couldn’t testify as to the true and accurate depiction of the evidence, the way evidence usually enters a mock trial case.
“In all four years of mock trial, this is the first time I’ve seen an exhibit that was seized by the police officer entered through another witness,” Cvetich said.
Despite the adversity, the team still made significant progress including a impeachment of a Kaleo witness’s credibility.
Kaleo’s witnesses made several mistakes, including referring to the defendant, Evan Shem, as a “she” when junior Akilan Murugesan was playing the character. Ultimately though, these mistakes were not enough to turn the tide in Country Day’s favor.
The Mock Trial season wrapped up at the awards ceremony where Country Day swept up the honors.
Senior Grant Miner received the best defense pre-trial argument award while senior Aishwarya Nadgauda received the best prosecution pre-trial award. Senior George Cvetich received the best attorney award. Juniors Akilan Murugesan and Emma Belliveau received best witness awards, and Belliveau also received the most valuable player award. Sophomore Arvind Krishnan received the best bailiff award.
“I am very proud of our team as a whole,” coach Wayne Strumpfer said. “We had the highest percentage of people on our team winning awards out of all the teams in the entire competition. Half of our team won at least one individual award.”