Mock Trial = Real Success


Troy H. '23, Staff Writer

I was lucky enough to be on Mock Trial’s “B” Team this year.  Here are some reflections about my team and the program’s success this past year! 

It’s March 7th, 2020. We’ve beaten some of the best teams in the City Competition. It’s a final battle between Roman “A” Team vs. Roman “B” Team. “A” team comes out victorious. It’s still a victory and a mark to show how far we’ve come as a program throughout the season. But how did we get here? How did we finish out the Mock Trial Season as the Semi-Final champions? It all started on November 9th, 2019. Once the pre-season finished up and all the teams were chosen, we finally started reading and adapting to the case file. The case was Addison Babbage vs. Ruffed Grouse High School which discussed cyber bullying. The first practice determined who would play a witness and who would be an attorney, and who would be double-sided (meaning being a Plaintiff and Defense Attorney or a Plaintiff and Defense Witness). It wasn’t easy, as we had to look at the case from different perspectives and prepare for every objection we could. Every Saturday we met to discuss the case. I was naturally nervous because I never had experience in Mock Trial. If you want to become successful, it takes more than having a loud tone of voice and being confident when you talk. Success involves knowing the material, understanding objections and how to counter an objection when it’s presented and how to argue an objection when you hear one.  During the winter, Roman’s trial team participates in four primary competitions at University of Pittsburgh, La Salle University, The University of Pennsylvania, and finally the Regional Tournament which is one of the most competitive meets of all.

Pittsburgh was the competition to really see where our skills were. We arrived at our hotel rooms on January 3rd, 2020. The competition went Round 1 – Defense, Round 2 – Plaintiff, Round 3  – Plaintiff, and Round 4 – Defense. Rounds 1 and 2 were on January 4th and we beat the first two teams very easily. We won Round 1 By +19 and Round 2 By +21. (The pluses and minuses are how many points we won or lost by). On January 5th, the third round began and the trials started. We lost Rounds 3 and 4, finishing in Pittsburgh with a 2-2 record. Our coaches guided us on how to really get the judges to feel the emotions of the character witnesses. We were determined to do even better for the next tournament.  

The La Salle tournament was from January 11th to January 12th. The coaches told us to stay confident and to maintain high energy. At this competition, the scoring was different because there were two judges: one to score and one to preside. Round 1 was a huge success we won by +21 and +28. We were able to pull another win in Round 2. Our scores were +5 and +1. The next round didn’t start for a couple of hours so I spent some of that time studying over my material. Once the round began of course I was nervous, but once the trial got started all my fears went away and after that trial, I started to have some of my best moments. We were able to win Round 3 by +9 and +1. For the competition our record was 6-0. The final Round was a tough round. Probably one of the most competitive matches. We had two judges and at the end of the competition We got +2 and -2. After the round, the winners for the La Salle Competition were announced. Roman A team earned first place and Roman B received third place. The coaches were really proud of us and wanted us to keep this success up for future rounds.

So, the day is January 25th and this is our third Tournament. We have grown a LOT since the first competition at University of Pittsburgh. We know way more than we did back then. We were feeling very confident in this tournament. I started to feel less nervous about the competition because I felt I already knew what to do and “Nervousness is just a waste of time.” Of course, in Round 1 we won by +22 and +13. Round 2 was coming up and I was anxious for the round to start. When the round starts, you get into the zone, and you move into a whole different mentality. We won by +8 and +2. We were feeling really good about ourselves. The next day, we got to UPenn early to study some material and get ready. Round 3 started and it really could’ve gone either way and it did. We Won +1 and Lost -1. Round 4 went way better. We won by +6 and +15. The winners were announced and we found out that “B” team placed third in the UPenn tournament and the “A” team placed first. We were ready for the City Competition. 

The Mock Trial City Competition was the biggest competition in all of Mock Trial. This was the competition that everyone waited for. This time the tournament was constructed differently than other tournaments as it was single elimination, with multiple judges. The only way for you to stay in the competition is if you made it to at least Round 3. We really were focused, took notes, had more after school practices and we were ready to win the city competition. The date was January 31st and we had the first competition at the Criminal Justice Center. That day, our defense team went first and they did a really great job. Roman won the majority of the ballots. +16 +4 and -1. Even though we lost one ballot we were still in the competition and had enough points to get us into Round 2.

Our next competition was on February 14th at the Federal Court House. We lost a majority of the ballots. -1 -5 and +1. It was a pretty bad loss but luckily our scores were good enough from Round 1 to get another win for Round 3. From here on out we had about two extra weeks to practice before Round 3 and we really made sure that we knew our material. We made SURE that we were ready. 

The next round was held on February 28th at the CJC. We were preparing for Round 3 and we were officially in the Sweet 16 bracket. This time it was defense that we were going to go in the competition. We spent a lot of time practicing with the defense team and we were confident that we were going to win. There was a little bit more pressure for the defense because if we lost it was OVER. Luckily, we did so good that round we secured our spot for Round 4. We won by +4, +9 and -1. Round 4 was going to be a tough round because the next team that we went against wasn’t going to be as easy.  

Thus, the Final Competition date was March 7th at the CJC because that’s when both Rounds 4 & 5 would be held. At this point in the competition, Roman “A”, “B”, and “C” teams were left. Things were getting close, because it was down to 8 Teams. At the beginning of the competition we started out with 64 schools and now it was down to the top 8. We knew that Round 4 would truly be a dog fight. We were confident in our material and we knew that we could win this round.  We found out that we made it to Round 5 and we (the “B” team) would be going against Roman’s “A” team. . After a coin flip, it was decided that Roman “A” was Plaintiff and Roman “B” was Defense. .

After a quick lunch, we headed back to the CJC and prepared for the finale of the competition. This was probably THE hardest competition we would face. The Round of Roman A vs. B was a great one. Both sides did their absolute best and it was probably one of the most exciting competitions throughout the whole season. It was at this point where we really put everything, we learned into one competition. The final round was definitely one of our GREATEST rounds. But sadly, at the end of the round we found out that “B” team lost although “A” team was to move forward. 

All in all, it was a great season.  Regrettably, the “A” team’s City Finals competition came to a sudden stop because of the COVID-19 pandemic, However, the experiences that every team had will NEVER be forgotten. For me I had a lot of fun my freshman year and Mock Trial is something that I can never forget. There is no telling what will happen for the next season but I can say that there is more greatness coming soon.