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NP3 High Mock Trial Team Places 4th Countywide

NP3 High prepares for another day of competition at the Gordon D. Schaber Courthouse in downtown Sacramento.

By Guy Gong
Staff Writer | The Pacific Times

NP3 High’s two Mock Trial teams placed 4th and 9th in the 2023 Sacramento County competition.

Both NP3 teams participated in four rounds Jan. 24-Feb. 9 and one qualified for the quarterfinals held at the Gordon D. Schaber Sacramento County Courthouse. One also went on to compete in the semifinals held Feb. 11 and in the consolation round held at the Robert T. Matsui United States Federal Courthouse on Feb. 15.

Sacramento Country Day School won the 2023 Gordon D. Schaber Sacramento County Mock Trial Competition and advances to the California Mock Trial Competition being held March 17-19 in Los Angeles.

Elk Grove High School, which placed second after several days of intense courtroom competition and careful deliberations by judges. Del Campo High School followed in third and Natomas Pacific Pathways Charter School placed fourth. Twenty high school teams took part in the competition coordinated by the Sacramento County Office of Education.

Mock Trial is a program that has teams participate in a mock court case scenario where teams compete for the best performance. Each team member has a specific role they fulfill in the court. The roles are pretrial counsel, prosecuting and defense attorneys, witnesses, court clerks, and bailiffs. They perform before a presiding judge and two to three scoring judges who judge individuals’ performance.

NP3 High has two teams that students join at the beginning of the school year by auditioning with an impromptu speech and an opening statement based on a fictional court case.

Every year, the Mock Trial competition is centered around one specific case provided to teams. This year’s case was People v. Franks, about a young cruise ship actor charged with robbery and battery of Billie Scher, another cruise ship actor.

NP3’s Mock Trial teams practiced their roles for the trial twice a week throughout the year in preparation for the competition. On Mondays, everyone on both teams practiced. Team members got feedback on their characters, practiced one-on-one with their attorneys, and did run-throughs. On Thursdays, only attorneys practiced.

Mock Trial’s 10-member “Black” team placed 4th overall and the 14-member “Orange” team placed 9th. Neither team qualified to move on to the state competition.

The two teams combined earned special awards for Top Pre-Trial Attorney, five Top Attorneys, and five Top Witnesses. These awards are given based on the scores from the county judges throughout the season. Jack Fedor and Noah Crocker were selected the MVPs for the “Black” team and Pahel Tandel was the MVP for the “Orange” team.

Senior Leila Pabst, who was a bailiff and played a detective, said that her favorite moment of this year’s competition was when finding out that their team made it to the semifinals.

“Knowing that our hard work paid off and celebrating as a team was really rewarding,” said Pabst.

“Although Mock Trial was a demanding and extensive commitment, I was very sad when it ended,” said senior Noah Crocker, who was a pre-trial attorney. “Through it, I got to meet so many amazing and talented individuals, while working alongside longtime friends. It was also a great opportunity to further my public speaking and comprehension skills.”

Junior Tandel said she felt like she did well for her first year on the team.

“I think competition season was very fun and the closest I have felt to the team, it was very exhausting but rewarding nonetheless,” Tandel said. “And getting my team MVP award was also a great moment because I was not expecting that whatsoever.”

Junior Chloe Durham said, “The quarter-finals round was rough to say the least and I genuinely thought we were going home after that. But then they posted the results and we made it to the semi-finals. I cried because I was so relieved.”

Coach Sasha Guzman said the school was “very proud of all the hard work that went into the season.”

NP3 High prepares for another day of competition at the Gordon D. Schaber Courthouse in downtown Sacramento.

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