Mock Trial regional tournament preview

The+Community+High+School+A-team+following+their+Washtenaw+Regional+Tournament+on+Feb.+23%2C+2019.+The+team+is+holding+their+trophy+in+celebration%2C+just+seconds+after+the+announcement+of+their+advancement+to+the+State+Tournament.+The+team+was+one+of+only+two+teams+that+advanced+to+stated+from+the+Washtenaw+County+Courthouse%0A

The Community High School A-team following their Washtenaw Regional Tournament on Feb. 23, 2019. The team is holding their trophy in celebration, just seconds after the announcement of their advancement to the State Tournament. The team was one of only two teams that advanced to stated from the Washtenaw County Courthouse

Ben Cooper and Sam Berkooz

As Feb. 22 quickly approaches, the nerves for both of CHS’s Mock Trial teams are setting in. Only weeks away from competing at the Washtenaw County Courthouse in the Washtenaw Regional Competition, both the A and B teams are preparing frequently in order to perform well in their upcoming tournament. 

“We’re working super hard, two hours a day, three days a week is a lot of time,” said B-team captain Anna Stansfield. “Everyone is really invested in this team and we’re excited for what’s to come.”

This year’s case is new to many members, as opposed to the usual civil or criminal cases, this is an immigration case. A unique case of this nature has taken some getting used to for many students, but head coach Chloe Root and the rest of the team have embraced the challenge. 

Another member of the team, Former lawyer and volunteer coach Robert West, was first introduced to the club over 30 years ago and has been a part of the CHS team ever since. In West’s first year the team won the State Championship, and West has been a part of the Mock Trial ever since. 

In terms of this year’s case, West is similar to many students in that this year’s case is unfamiliar and outside of his expertise. Despite this, West is impressed with the progress that has been made to this point. 

“As much as we’re all struggling and time seems to be racing by, I feel we are in a good place for this point in the year,” West said.

In terms of how many students are feeling at this point, many are not feeling quite as calm as West, and nerves are increasing as the days go by. B-team captain Stansfield thinks that there is still lots of work that needs to be done for both teams before competing.

“Of course I’m nervous, everyone is, but I feel like that makes us prepare more and work harder,” Stansfield said. “I think that it is understandable to be nervous about something you have spent so much time on.” 

During the 2019 Washtenaw Regional Competition, the CHS A-team was one of only two teams that advanced to the State competition, before placing seventh in the state last year. CHS hopes to send both of their A and B teams to the state competition this year.

As of now, both teams are focusing on what they can control: exploring and memorizing each detail of the case, and refining their arguments. 

Regardless of what happens on Feb. 22, coach West believes that Mock Trial is more than the results of the competitions; it provides an opportunity not found in the classroom, to work on skills that students will use for the rest of their lives. 

“You don’t get this experience in many other contexts, it is an opportunity to become more comfortable speaking in public and critically thinking about topics we here about,” coach West said. “Mock Trial shows how many different ways people can interpret the same information, and that it is important to look at the facts to formulate your opinion, rather than just taking the side of those around you.”