Both Mock Trial teams win in first round of competition

A scoring mix-up and a job offer surprised the Mock Trial teams in their first preliminary round of the competition.

This round was the first preliminary round of four. Scores from these rounds will determine which teams will go to quarterfinals.

Because so many people joined Mock Trial this year, coach Wayne Strumpfer split them into two teams, red and black (to represent the colors of Country Day), so more people could gain experience.

Black team played defense while red team played prosecution at the Gordon D. Schaber Sacramento County Courthouse on Feb. 11.

Strumpfer watched the black team while co-coach Ilija Cvetich watched the red team.

According to the red team captain, senior Emma Belliveau, the case follows a security officer who died as the result of a blow to the head by a baseball bat.

The prosecution’s job is to convince the scoring judges that the person who hit him with the baseball bat intended to harm or kill him.

The defense, on the other hand, is trying to say the blow was justifiable because the suspect’s friend was being choked by the police officer.

Once the match started for both teams, a problem occurred: the scoring sheets were in the wrong rooms.

The red team’s scoring sheet was in the hands of the black team.

At first both teams were going to switch rooms, but weren’t prepared to. So both teams improvised and decided to go through and change all the names on the scoring sheets.

Black Team (Defense)

The black team played against Natomas High School, and won  243-180, receiving 57 percent of the points.

At the end of the match, scoring judges usually give feedback and comments about the trial.

But one scoring judge’s comment was different from the rest.

That judge told first-time attorney junior Jaelan Trapp that he had a lot of talent and passion. And she offered Trapp a spot in her law firm!

“Initially, I thought she was joking of course, so I didn’t think much of it,” Trapp said. “However, if I could manage to get involved in some summer internship, that’d be great.”

Other judges said Trapp owned his closing argument, was articulate and persuasive, and was an excellent advocate for his client.

Another first-time attorney, junior John Hansen, was chosen MVP by the opponent’s team.

“It was a really great self-confidence booster,” Hansen said.

Strumpfer praised the preparation of the black team’s bailiff, junior Shriya Nadgauda.

“Sometimes bailiffs are a forgotten part of the team, but she was excellent tonight and helped score,” Strumpfer said.

Red Team (Prosecution)

The red team beat Ponderosa High School, 249-199, receiving 55 percent of the points.

Belliveau praised her co-attorney, freshman Jack Christian.

“He’s really good at doing things in the moment,” Belliveau said.

Christian said they both knew their material really well.

“(Belliveau) had a great closing, and her rebuttal was awesome,” Christian said.

Both Christian and Belliveau said that the red team could do better with objections. Only three objections were made by the team. Christian said objecting more and being assertive would have helped them.

“We need to work on not being tripped up by weird questions we’re not expecting and responding as if it were real life and not a structured competition,” Belliveau said.

Strumpfer agreed the team has to work on objections.

Round 2 will be on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 6 p.m.

—By Ulises Barajas 

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