Mock trial once again state-bound


courtesy Shorewood Mock Trial

Shorewood Mock Trial poses at regionals on February 8. The Red Team will move on to state in March.

After a close second place finish at regionals on February 8, the Mock Trial Red Team is moving on to the state competition in Madison this March. 

“I think we did really well,” said Anna Hietpas, senior. “We actually got second place to Whitefish Bay, who are our biggest rivals. We went three and one, and the only trial we lost to them [we lost] by one point, which is a really small margin.”

11 teams competed that day, among them Golda Meir High School, Cedarburg High School and Wauwatosa West High School. The first and second place teams move on to the state-wide tournament in Madison. To prepare for state, the team is focusing on polishing their presentation skills. 

“We will be changing minor things,” Hietpas said. “It’s more about perfecting our presentation and memorization of materials [than major content changes].”

They’re also reexamining their strategies after seeing what they’ll likely come up against in March. 

“Now that [we’ve been to regionals], we know what to expect and what the competition is going to look like,” said Kara Rooney, junior. 

The team has had their share of changes this year. Evan Schmidt, social studies teacher, took over as Mock Trial advisor in the fall. The previous advisor, Debra Schwinn, had overseen the team for many years. 

“Debra Schwinn has done an incredible job coaching mock trial for years and it was time for her to move on, after all the work she put in,” said Schmidt. “As another colleague in the social studies department, I decided to fill the opening that was there.”

Although Schmidt works with a more hands off approach, mostly dealing with the paperwork, volunteer lawyers come in to coach the students during their practices. 

Regardless of the change in advisor, Mock Trial’s sense of community remains strong.

“You get really bonded with your team,” Rooney said. “Experiencing trial together can get really interesting, because it’s really intense, but we’re all really close.” 

The long hours of practice every week also help create a close-knit group.

“This isn’t our usual group of people that we get to hang out with, but I love everybody here,” said Alemitu Caldart, junior. 

For seniors, the lead up to state provides a time to look back on lessons learned through participating in Mock Trial. 

“I’ve done it since sophomore year. My favorite part is working really hard to achieve specific goals, and then really getting to show what you know,” Hietpas said. “I also feel like it gives you a lot of skills that are so useful in other aspects of life. It’s a club where you not only learn how to be comfortable with public speaking, and I’ve gained a lot of confidence through it, but you also learn how to deal with difficult situations and how to think on the spot, and I feel like it’s just been really beneficial for me as a person.” 

State will be held on March 13, 14 and 15 in Madison. 


Correction 2/20:  The print version of this article included a quote that said the red team came in second place last year at regionals. The red team won regionals last year.