Worthington News

Kilbourne mock trial team qualifies for regionals

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The mock trial team from Worthington Kilbourne High School will advance to regional competition after winning two rounds at the district trials in Delaware on Jan. 31.

The team from Thomas Worthington High School won one round at competition in Marion, not enough to continue in the 31st annual Ohio High School Mock Trial competition.

Under the mock trial format, a team of five to 11 students play both plaintiff and defendant attorneys and witnesses and participate in two trials against different area high schools.

At the same time, more than 350 other teams compete in district competitions at 30 different courthouses across the state, hoping to advance to one of the nine regional competition rounds to be held Feb. 21.

To advance, teams must win both their plaintiff and defendant rounds against opposing schools. Teams that win both rounds at the regional competitions then advance to the state finals rounds March 6-8 in Columbus. The state winner will compete in the national competition in May.

In the first round in Delaware, WKHS Team Carpe Diem's defendant side defeated Big Walnut's Team Pistachio's plaintiff side. Senior and co-captain Michelle Ding won the best-attorney award for her performance.

In the second round, Carpe Diem's plaintiff side defeated Marysville's Team Phi's defendant side. Junior Maria Pawluk earned recognition as the best attorney in that round.

Other members of Carpe Diem are Amelia Boudinot, Amy Du, Beth Findell, Apsara Sankar, Audrey Shih, Justine Shih and Leah Terhune.

"I am very proud of our performance," coach Tom Novack said. "Every member on the team pulled their individual weight, allowing us to win as a team."

Attorney David VanSlyke helps Novack coach the team. Also assisting are Judge Terri Jamison, Benita Reedus and Magistrate Nancy Novack of the Domestic Relations Division of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

In the first round in Marion, TWHS Team Varsity's defense defeated Harding High School Team Red's plaintiff side.

Sophomore Viraj Kumar won the best-attorney award, and junior Rachael Dowler won the best-witness award.

Other members of Team Varsity are team captain and junior Alden Shepherd, sophomore Edward Gao and freshman Stephanie Mertz.

In the second round, Team Varsity was defeated narrowly by Pleasant High School Team Dionysus.

In its first round in Marion, TWHS Team Justice competed against North Union High School Team Sunkist. In the second round, Team Justice competed against Pleasant High School Team Athena.

Team Justice comprises members team captain and junior Nisha Bhattacharya, along with freshman Maxwell Calderon, sophomore Miranda Carver, sophomore Jocelyn Decker and junior Christina Liu.

"This year was a building year for Thomas," team coach and attorney Paul M. Nick said. "Each of the rounds was very close, and the judges commented on how impressed they were with the performances by both teams."

The main takeaway of the mock trial experience is to learn how to be an effective, persuasive advocate while maintaining a professional demeanor. Few activities in high school provide this experience, Nick said.

Legal advisers for the TWHS teams are assistant public defender Maureen David and attorney Robert Moormann.

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