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Varsity Mock Trial Advances to the Semi-Finals After a Victorious County Competition

Paige+Maho+%2812%29+and+Dan+Kelly+%2812%29+discuss+their+performance+a+few+minutes+after+beating+Cabrillo+High+School+on+Feb.+24.+Maho+and+Kelly+are+a+part+of+DP%27s+Varsity+Mock+Trial+prosecution+team.
Paige Maho (12) and Dan Kelly (12) discuss their performance a few minutes after beating Cabrillo High School on Feb. 24. Maho and Kelly are a part of DP's Varsity Mock Trial prosecution team.

Paige Maho (12) and Dan Kelly (12) discuss their performance a few minutes after beating Cabrillo High School on Feb. 24. Maho and Kelly are a part of DP's Varsity Mock Trial prosecution team.

Photo credit: Jaden Gill

Photo credit: Jaden Gill

Paige Maho (12) and Dan Kelly (12) discuss their performance a few minutes after beating Cabrillo High School on Feb. 24. Maho and Kelly are a part of DP's Varsity Mock Trial prosecution team.

By Jaden Gill, Editor-in-Chief

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Senior Paige Maho stepped up to the stand, faced the jury, and confidently asserted a sound argument regarding the murder evidence. Even after a dramatic outbreak from the defendant, pleading her innocent, the case was closed and the judge declared her guilty, securing yet another win for the Dos Pueblos Varsity Mock Trial Team.

Varsity Mock Trial emerged from the county competition at the Santa Barbara Courthouse on Feb. 24 with numerous victories, landing them a spot in the semi-finals that will take place along with the finals on March 3.

Maho is a member of the prosecution team and has been an essential part of Mock Trial for the past four years, which is evident in the various compliments she received from the judges during the competition.

“I felt personally that we performed the best we ever have,” Maho said. “Our witness’s characters were super strong, we were loud, and I think we really showed off what we’ve been preparing for for the last 6 months.”

Coach Joel Block was especially impressed with his teams’ professionalism and resilience, even after a competition that lasted all day, against numerous teams.

“There are eight teams in the county that compete and they’re divided into two pools of four teams that compete against each other in sort of a round robin,” Block said. “Both Varsity and Junior Varsity are strong teams. They were well prepared, they knew their material, and they knew how to react even when they were challenged.”

Since each Mock Trial team is split up into a prosecution team and a defense team, DP’s Varsity and Junior Varsity ironically ended up facing off against each other in the afternoon after Varsity beat Cabrillo and Santa Ynez. The JV team showed great skill, almost beating their own Varsity team, but in the end only Varsity finished with enough wins to progress to the semi-finals.

While Block is confident in the team as they head into their next competition, he has increased their practice time in order to hone in on specific weaknesses as they prepare.

“We’ve got a good team,” Block said. “There are good teams in the county, don’t get me wrong, but we’ll be at the top of our game. This week we’ll work on various individuals and ways to respond—we’re pretty much just going to tighten up certain areas.”

Senior and prosecution expert Dan Kelly joined Mock Trial his freshman year, attempting to broaden his horizons as he showed interest in both medicine and law. Since he has been a part of the team throughout his entire high school career, he is more determined than ever to showcase all that DP Mock Trial is capable of.

“I think what really sets us apart is the discipline we take in what we do,” Kelly said. “We look at it as more than an extracurricular. We see it as any other sport and we’re overall really dedicated.”

DP’s Mock Trial Team has showed immense skill across the nation over the years, winning 3 California State Championships and advancing to the prestigious Empire World Invitational Tournament multiple times. This year’s team has continued to showcase the proficiency of previous years, and they are hopeful that their successes will persist.

“Moving forward we are just nit picking at things we found we needed to work on over the weekend, such as responding to objections and better phrasing our arguments,” Maho said. “But I think our team is really special and really talented. I know whoever we face we will perform our best.”

While the team and coaches have high hopes for the semi-finals, they are not letting that diminish their focus, especially since the teams they will be competing against are fairly equal matches.

“There’s definitely some tension going into it because two years ago we won state and then lost to San Marcos in county last year,” Kelly said. “I heard that Santa Barbara also has a really aggressive team this year, so going in, we’re all a little on edge, but I also think we’re ready and we’ve prepared.”

Varsity Mock Trial remains in high spirits moving into next weekend’s competition thanks to their impressive win against many other high schools in Santa Barbara County. As they continue to practice and strengthen their weaknesses, they hope to display an even more compelling performance at their next competition, which would allow the team to advance to the finals.

 

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Varsity Mock Trial Advances to the Semi-Finals After a Victorious County Competition