Mock Trial benefits from scrimmages

Mock Trial benefits from scrimmages

Yaamini Venkataraman

Scrimmages give team experience, reality-checks

Sophomore Christie Lin delivers an examination—the interrogation of a witness—during a scrimmage against Santa Cruz High School at SCHS on Jan. 9. The previous day, Mock Trial scrimmaged Mt. Tamalpais High School. Photo courtesy of Emily Szeto.
You’re only as good as your next trial—and Mock Trial plans to be better.

On Jan. 8, Mock Trial scrimmaged Mt. Tamalpais High School, the 2009 state champion, and Santa Cruz High School on Jan. 9. Previous to the Mt. Tamalpais scrimmage, the team went against Hillsdale High School on Dec. 5—the current state champion. But nothing could prepare them for the competition against MTHS.

“We were a little bit unsure of ourselves. It was really hard to stay calm going against such a hard team,” Mock Trial vice-president sophomore Reeti Banthia said.

MTHS has won the Marin County competition for the past 15 years, and that experience showed. In addition to experience, their team also had 27 members—more than twice as many as that of MVHS. Half of the team doesn’t even compete. Instead, the alternates attend all the scrimmages and competitions dressed up, just to watch.

“When your confidence gets knocked down like it did on [after the MTHS scrimmage], we worked so hard [Jan. 8] night that on [Jan. 9], we literally were ten times better. [Coach Jim Torre] was really happy” Banthia said.

The fledgling team is experiencing pre-season scrimmages for the first time. Last year’s team didn’t have a coach, and couldn’t communicate with other teams’ coaches to set up scrimmages. But they did compete against other teams during county competitions—just not well. The team finished 0-4 at the bottom of the county.

“[The other teams] say [to us], ‘See you at States,’” Banthia said. “We plan to be there.”

“Whenever we say ‘Mt. Tamalpais’, everyone becomes silent,” Torre said. “After [that scrimmage], they finally understand what a trial competition is all about. They now appreciate it, and so they’re motivated.”

This year, the team plans to make it to the advanced rounds of the county competition in February. In the county competition, 22 teams compete, but only eight teams, with at least a 3-1 record in the preliminary rounds advance to the quarter and semifinal rounds.

In order to succeed at their next scrimmage against Elk Grove High School Jan. 23, the team plans to attain perfection—perfect speech, perfect expression, and perfect rhetoric. In addition, all witnesses and lawyers still need to memorize their parts; however, assistant coach Sergei Shubin cites confidence as the element needing the most improvement.

“[They] need improvement in terms of being comfortable with themselves, and understanding that they are capable of performing in the way that we ask them to perform,” Shubin said. “And [they need] to answer any questions for the witness and make objections.”

However, the scrimmaging has proved itself useful when it comes to gaining a reputation.

“[The other teams] say [to us], ‘See you at States,’” Banthia said. “We plan to be there.”

Mock Trial’s next scrimmage is Jan. 23 at Elk Grove High School. Preliminary rounds of the county competition are during Feb. 1, 3, 8, and 10. All preliminary rounds are open to the public and take place at the Santa Clara County Superior Court, 191 North First Street in San Jose. In March, the team will be recruiting new members. Check in February for more updates on the team.