UHS Mock Trial Team Wins County Finals for the Second Consecutive Year

Veronica Kuo, Staff Writer 

The UHS Mock Trial team won the County Finals against the Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) on Feb. 17, defending their County Champion title. They will represent Orange County at the California Mock Trial Finals.

This is the third time the UHS Mock Trial team has won the county championship. They had previously won in 2017 and 2021. 

This year, the UHS Mock Trial team went 8-0 to become the County Champions. The OC Mock Trial competitions were hosted by the Constitutional Rights Foundation virtually via Zoom. 

“I was just overwhelmingly excited,” junior Harper Richardson said. “All of our faces lit up and some of us even jumped out of our chairs. It was truly exhilarating and great for all our hard work to finally pay off!” 

For senior Simona Forster, the win was more than just excitement. 

“I remember when we lost in the semifinals my freshman year, my fellow executive board members Erin Jeon and Krishna Khawani and I vowed to win our senior year,” Forster said. “It feels surreal for this promise to come true four years later.” 

Sophomore Andy Kessler also expressed his certainty in the team.

“Our team killed it,” Kessler said. “When we were waiting for the results, we were on the edges of our seats. UHS deservedly won and I’m so proud of the team for putting in so many hours working hard to perfect our performance.”

Many of the team members feel that the way the trial rounds are judged are quite subjective, leading to much excitement over the release of the results.

“I knew we did well in our round but the judging is so subjective that it feels great to know that our skill showed through for the scorers,” Richardson said. 

Having held their tryouts in the spring, the mock trial team began their practices in July before the school year started. From the beginning, the team had their minds set on another county win, which they were able to achieve with their alumni coach Neah Lekan and attorney coach Suoo Lee.

“We told everyone from day one of practice that we were aiming for a back-to-back championship this year,” Forster said. 

Members of the mock trial team attribute much of their success to the experience of the upperclassmen team members. 

“I believe our team was successful mainly because of our experience. We have a particularly strong group of seniors,” Forster said. “Our experience, combined with our rigorous practice schedule and dedication from our alumni coach Neah Lekan, allowed us to have strategy, foresight, and a certain poise that we haven’t seen from any other team.” 

As the team prepares for the state competition, Forster also looks toward the future of the Mock Trial team.

“Joining Mock Trial was the best thing I could have done for myself my freshman year. I have learned to become a better speaker and writer and met some of my mentors and closest friends along the way,” Forster said.

The California Mock Trial Finals will take place from March 17-20 via Zoom.