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Mock trial defeats Wellesley, to compete in tie-breaker trials this week

by Jackie Gong
North’s mock trial team beat Wellesley in its third round of regionals last Friday, matching last year’s record of 3-0. As a result of South and Wayland High School both ending their seasons 3-0, two tie-breaker trials will take place this week according to seniors SeungWan Kang and Rebecca Hurwitz, the captains.
The team did very well, according to Kang. “All our witnesses were stellar, our attorneys were exceptional as well,” he said. “Our opening statement was clear and effective, our cross examination tripped up the other side’s witness, and our closing argument did an awesome job flipping the other side’s case against them.”
Each trial, roles such as directing attorneys, crossing attorneys, and witnesses are prepared by students beforehand, according to Hurwitz. “Each role is judged out of 10 points, with 10 being amazing and 1 being terrible,” she explained. Scores are assigned by a “judge” at the trial, and by the end the scores of each team are added up. “So it’s not necessarily which team wins the trial itself, it’s which team scores the most points,” she said.
Kang stressed the importance of a good witness. “It’s really tempting to come off as defensive when someone else is trying to get you to say something that will hurt your case, but the best witnesses—including the ones we have on our team right now—are very good at navigating around the other side’s questions,” he said.
“We’re very lucky to have strong witnesses who can portray convincing characters, which is important in convincing the judge that our case is the right [one],” said Kang.
Although winning the third preliminary round typically means becoming regional champions, South and Wayland High School have also ended the regional season 3-0, meaning two tie-breaker trials will be held this week. The team’s ultimate goal is to win these two trials and advance to state tournament Friday, March 27.
While the team has improved a lot since they started preparing in November, there is still work to be done, said Kang.
Though the team’s eventual goal is to reach states, the team has also been working on the skills of newer members. That “means speaking louder, responding to objections made by the other team, and projecting the amount of confidence that’s necessary to convince the judge that our entire team is determined to win,” he said. “Of course, that’s learned over time.”
The team has not won regionals since 2007, according to Kang. “If we win the next two trials, we will have gone further than we have in eight years,” he said.

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