After the post-consolation match awards ceremony, the Mock Trial team poses with its awards. (Photo courtesy of Schep)

Mock Trial team takes fourth place, earns most individual awards in county

The Mock Trial team finished its season with a 511-491 loss to Rio Americano, three ballots to zero, in the consolation match of the county competition on March 2. Despite the loss, coach Rick Lewkowitz said it was the team’s strongest performance.

Both the consolation match and championship match took place at the Robert T. Matsui U.S. Courthouse. Del Campo, which defeated the Cavs in the semifinals, beat Elk Grove in the championship round.

With the consolation loss, the Cavs (4-3) finished the season in fourth place. The team was awarded 12 of 21 possible ballots and earned 3,606 of 3,885 possible points this season (555 points are possible per match).

Lewkowitz said he could not be prouder of the team.

“They performed at a championship level in their last trial,” Lewkowitz said.

According to senior attorney Héloïse Schep, the match was short because neither the Cavs nor the Raiders made many objections. She attributed this to the quality of both teams.

“Both (teams phrased) questions to be unobjectionable,” Schep said.

It was clear each team had put the work in, she added.

“Regardless of whether you win or not, it’s evident that you prepared well and did a good job,” Schep said.

Junior witness Sarina Rye said it was a great match on which to end the season.

“I was proud of (sophomore attorney Sanjana Anand’s) confidence during her cross-examinations, and (Schep’s) closing was awesome,” Rye said. “We were polished and had fun.”

Country Day students accumulated 10 individual awards, the most of any school in the county competition. All five attorneys (seniors Spencer Scott and Schep, junior Ming Zhu, Anand and freshman Grace Zhao) were recognized as outstanding attorneys. Senior Anu Krishnan won awards for her role as bailiff and pretrial attorney, Rye for her role as a witness and freshman Samhita Kumar for her role as a pretrial attorney. Zhao was named the team MVP in two of the Cavs’ four trials before the quarterfinals.

Rye said it was validating to be recognized for her effort.

“I worked hard to know all the facts, to work on my acting skills for emotional connections and how to handle cross (examinations),” Rye said. 

Rye added that the seniors were helpful and bonded with the team well. They frequently talked and joked with underclassmen, improving team chemistry.

“I noticed (that) as the year went on, everyone got more comfortable and was able to joke around,” she said. “Their presence will be missed.”

Lewkowitz agreed.

“Of course we will miss all four of our seniors next season, but their leadership of our underclassmen has left us with a bright future for next season,” Lewkowitz said.

Coach Hayley Graves, seniors Spencer Scott, Héloïse Schep and Anu Krishnan and coach Rick Lewkowitz celebrate the seniors’ last Mock Trial match. (Photo courtesy of Schep)

Schep added how proud she was of the team.

“This has been amazing,” she said of her time on the Mock Trial team. “I’m so glad I was able to see people grow and help people realize their skills.

“At the beginning of the (season), you could tell the (younger attorneys) had what it took, but they were nervous because it was their first time. I hope (they) realize that they have what it takes and that next year (the team) can do well.”

—By Ethan Monasa

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