Case closed: Mock trial team wins states

The Mock Trial team poses

Photo via Jon Pepper’s Twitter

Mock Trial team poses with their award. Front row left to right: sophomore Kate Freeman, junior Fiona Howard, senior Evelyn Duross, sophomore Maryn Hiscott. Back row left to right: senior James Weichert, senior Ishan Bhalla, and senior Sarah Valley. (Photo via Jon Pepper’s Twitter)

Sequoia Wyckoff, Editor-in-Chief

“To put it in no uncertain terms, we crushed it,” said senior James Weichert.

Mason’s Mock Trial team took home first at the state competition at William & Mary Law School last Saturday, March 2. Additionally, junior Fiona Howard won Best Witness, senior Evelyn Duross Best Prosecutor, and Weichert won Best Defense.

The team was started last year by Weichert. In their first season, they placed fifth best public school in Virginia with only six students, the minimum required to compete. This year, they won with just seven.

Mock Trial season began in October with tryouts, and the team has since been meeting weekly with their coaches and attorney mentors to prepare their case.

Different team members act as attorneys and witnesses for each side of the case, which dealt with someone driving under the influence of marijuana resulting in the death of a passenger. A typical practice includes preparing direct examinations (questions to their own witnesses), cross-examinations (questions to the other team’s witnesses), opening and closing speeches, and developing their characters. “It’s essentially a play,” Weichert said, “and then some improv. It’s very theatrical.”

In competition, each round is two and a half hours, during which two opposing teams conduct an entire criminal trial. Every team must be prepared to present either side. At the state competition, there were a total of four rounds plus finals, over two days. Mason’s Mock Trial went into finals ranked first, and maintained that position.


The team has qualified for the national competition, but will not be attending.

Four of the seven team members are seniors, and another is moving out of the country at the end of the year.

“We’re going to have tryouts at the end of this year,” said Weichert, “to try to build up the team. There’s always a spot for everyone. We’re looking for a diverse group. Kids who come from theatre, AP Gov, and even people with no experience at all.”