By ANIKET MEHROTRA
Mock Trial Team Blue made it to the state finals for the first time in the program’s history, after defeating Northwood High School’s Team Blue in County Finals on Saturday, December 16th.
The team was victorious over 50 Orange County Mock Trial teams in the county bracket, winning seven consecutive rounds to make it to county finals.
“We’ve put a lot more emphasis on team dynamics [and] performance over individual talent,” Mock Trial President senior Tejas Dhindsa said. “We’ve also made an effort to strengthen our witnesses and I think that was a game changer.”
There were two trials that took place on Saturday: Team Blue’s defense team competed in the morning while the team’s prosecution team competed in the afternoon.
The defense won their trial by a margin of 92 points and the prosecution lost the second trial by a margin of 8 points.
The Mock Trial program consists of two teams: Team Blue and Team White.
Students with more experience in the competition are placed on Team Blue while students who need more experience are placed on Team White.
Students such as senior Jean Park, who has been in the club since her sophomore year, felt proud of Team Blue’s win.
“This season was truly unlike any other,” Park said. “I am incredibly proud of the work that both Team Blue and Team White put into this season and I cannot wait to see us thrive at state competitions.”
“The best part was cheering the ‘Everywhere We Go’ chant inside the courtroom with all the jury and judges and even the mayor of Irvine clapping for us,” Park added. “It was an unforgettable moment.”
This year’s victory at the County Finals was the second time Team Blue made it to the county finals. The first time was two years ago when the team first made it to the finals, but lost to Saddleback Christian Academy.
“To win the championship was a goal that Uni has been working diligently toward for years,” senior Mitchell Rogers said. “Each year of alumni have continued to make strides toward it, and now its paying off.”
“I’m excited to see where it all leads us next,” Rogers said.
Several alumni of the UHS Mock Trial program came to witness the trial, reliving the countless hours of work put into advancing to the state competition.
“I feel so fulfilled knowing that every obstacle this team has overcome, year after year, has finally led to this team creating Uni history,” 2016-17 UHS Mock Trial President Jaimee Hocker said.
The Mock Trial competition gives high-school students the opportunity to simulate a legal trial, assuming the roles of witnesses and attorneys.
Teams can advance further in their bracket on the basis of individual and overall team performance.
Students who are interested in joining Mock Trial can try out for either UHS’ Team Blue or Team White next year in May.
“The audition process varies depending on what position you’re trying out for, either pre-trial, attorney or witnesses,” junior Douglas Sun said. “I absolutely fell in love with Mock Trial.
“It’s probably the best club I could imagine joining, and I don’t think I would be happier anywhere else.”
The State Finals will be held at the Superior Court of Orange County in Santa Ana from March 16 through the 18.
“I’ve never been more proud to be a part of anything,” junior Danial Hashemi said. “This team was just amazing and we were all friends and would have a great time at practices and trials. I’ll always remember this journey, even after high school.”