Mock Trial makes school history by advancing to finals; coach says team could be the strongest ever

Although the winner has been announced, individual scores and point values are not released in quarter- and semi-final rounds. 

The SCDS Mock Trial team has advanced to the final round – a first since 2009 and the second time ever – after defeating St. Francis High School (in the quarter-finals) and Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep Charter High School (in the semi-finals) on Feb. 25.

According to coach Wayne Strumpfer, the team, poised to face off against Elk Grove High School in the finals on Monday, Feb. 27, could be the strongest in the 12 years of SCDS Mock Trial history.

Senior Shriya Nadgauda’s  pre-trial statement, universally praised by team members, was named “the best pre-trial we had seen” by judges in both of Saturday’s matches.

As for trial attorneys senior Jaelan Trapp and sophomore Jack Christian, Strumpfer said that they “have an excellent understanding of evidence law and the elements of the crime of human trafficking.”

Evidence law, Strumpfer said, is how one makes and responds to objections.

“They also both have a great command of the courtroom,” Strumpfer said. “When they speak, everyone pays attention.”

The witnesses, headed by sophomores Blake Lincoln and Gabi Alvarado, have also been particularly strong this season.

“(Alvarado) did a great job as both the victim and the defendant in making her character seem hopeless and unthreatening,” Nadgauda said.

“All of the scoring judges loved her.”

Strumpfer agreed, adding that the witnesses are “doing a masterful job.”

“(They) know the facts from which they can testify so well, and they have learned the subtle art of being a Mock Trial witness: you can’t over-act, yet you can’t sound scripted,” Strumpfer said.

Although lk Grove is the returning champion, the team is confident in their abilities.

“We just have to focus,” Nadgauda said. “It’s easy to get caught up in the nervousness of being in the finals and everything, but we’re a strong team.”

Strumpfer also emphasized the importance of concentration.

“If the team can keep their focus and be deliberate, we have a real shot at winning,” Strumpfer said.

The finals will be held at the Federal Courthouse at 4:45 p.m.

If they beat Elk Grove, they will advance to state competition.

By Chardonnay Needler

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