Zoom Mock Trial: Regional Results and Room for Improvement


Elizabeth Graff, Reporter

This past weekend, Adams’ students participated in the South Bend Mock Trial Regional Competition. With fewer teams competing due to Covid, only six teams auto-advanced on to state from the South Bend Regional. Three Adams teams advanced, while three Trinity teams advanced. Adams congratulates “Smockin’ Hot”, who placed third, “Blair Arson Project”, who placed fourth, and “Queso Bueno”, who placed sixth. These teams will compete in the state-wide competition on March sixth. In addition, two teams competed out of the South Bend regional, “Mock Block” who placed second at the Hammond regional, and “the Frends” who placed fifth at the Indianapolis regional. They both qualified to auto-advance into the state competition

Multiple best witness awards were given to Adams students including Cole Evans, Lily Kahn, Sam Nashel, AJ Brookshire, Michael Camilleri, Mateo Graubart, Genna Horvath, Max Kolda, Connor McKenna, Brigid Reilly, Grace Schell, and Samuel Villagra-Stanton. Multiple best attorney awards were also given to Adams students, including Ben Guerrero, Monica Caponigro, Joey Geels, Genna Horvath, Connor McKenna, and Kaia Wells, while Charlotte Thomposn and Katie Hensell both received two best lawyer awards. 

All the students who participated in mock trial this year were faced with the challenge of adapting to online scrimmages, practices, and competitions. Deireann O’brien, a sophomore from the team “Claim to Flame” that placed seventh at the South Bend regional, recounts the advantages and disadvantages of doing mock trial online. Deireann says, “It was more difficult online, but the competition was easier in terms of professionality because the judges can’t judge you on small things like fidgeting.” She stated that some other advantages of working online were that “it left more leeway in the scrimmages” and “helped students to stay safe during covid.” The part that Deireann misses the most about in person, pre-pandemic mock trial is, “the ability to work with your partner better and hold each other accountable, I also just miss seeing my friends and creating those bonds that were so important for the team.” 

Cole Evans, a junior on the team “Mock Block”, observed that online mock trial was challenging because it caused less connection with the team and less time for team bonding. However, he found that using the chat feature on zoom to communicate with the other lawyers was helpful. If mock trial had to continue online into the next school year, Cole hopes that a better system for stating objections will be created. After Covid is over, Cole says, “It will be hard for the new people to adjust to in person, since it is such a different experience.” 

Another upperclassman who preferred to stay anonymous also had significant experiences throughout their years of mock trial. When asked how mock trial had changed since previous years, they said, “When I came in as a Freshman, Adams had won what I believe to be sixteen state championships in a row, and was among the largest programs in the nation, and was one of two schools in the nation to have won multiple national championships. My very first year I experienced hostility from the better teams in the school, instead of being helpful and inclusive they were secretive and untrusting of even the youngest teams in the school. It was this attitude that began to diminish the program, instead of helping create quality future teams it became an every team for their self mentality… This being said the future of the program is bright. Our sophomore and freshman teams are of excellent talent. For the first time while I have been at Adams, a freshmen team is auto-advanced to state, this is very promising, and the future of Adams mock trial is bright.” When it comes to their opinion on the matter of online mock trial specifically, they said, “Online mock trial is difficult, and it takes away a lot of the nuances of mock trial. It is extremely impressive how Ms. Elliot and the Bar foundation adapted to this challenge. They limited the change, and created an online system much better than any online adaption I have seen so far into this pandemic.” When asked what their favorite memory was throughout their years in mock trial, they said, “I have created lifelong friends and memories during mock trial. My favorite memory is going down to state on a bus with all the teams and just having fun. I am critical of a lot about Adams Mock Trial but I would not trade it for the world, I love the competition, my team, and the program. I believe with work Adams can easily go back to the powerhouse it once was.