Mock trial team moves on to championship bracket

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Howard Lenow

Above, many WHS mock trial team members prepare to attend a mock trial seminar at Harvard University. On February 7, the mock trial team claimed their third win, making the team the Region Four champion. “In the end, I felt quite proud,” co-captain and cross lawyer Larry Guo said.

Wayland High School’s mock trial team has won its third case this year, crowning the team as the Region Four champion.

Every mock trial team is guaranteed three preliminary trials. In each of these trials, either the team’s defense or prosecution faces another school’s team.

If a team wins all three trials or the most in their region, the team qualifies for the championship bracket that leads to the final state championship. Wayland High School’s mock trial team won all three of its cases, and it was the only team out of the eight in its region to do so.

The WHS team is now in the “Sweet 16″ bracket, the top teams in the state that have claimed the title of regional champion in each of their respective regions. During the week of March 4, Wayland’s mock trial team will be competing against the Region Two champions for a place in the “Elite Eight.”

The WHS team is led by a lawyer coach, Howard Lenow, and a teacher coach, Kathy Sherry. Seniors Larry Guo and John Huo are the team captains.

For the past four years, Newton South’s mock trial team held the title of regional champion. But this year, the Wayland defense defeated the Newton South prosecution in both teams’ first trial of the year. The final score of the trial was 86-79.

During WHS’s second trial, on January 31, the WHS prosecution defeated Belmont High School’s defense.

The WHS team’s third trial was held at Framingham District Court against Gann Academy on February 7. The WHS team represented the prosecution while the Gann Academy team represented the defense. Wayland clinched their third win with a final score of 94 to Gann Academy’s 89 out of a possible 110 points for each team.

Gann Academy’s team had also won their first two trials. WHS has beaten Gann Academy in the past, but only by a close margin.

“Trials between Gann and us are always close since they’re also very well prepared,” co-captain and cross lawyer Larry Guo said. “Gann Academy was one of the best teams in my opinion, so it was exciting.”

What is the key to the Wayland mock trial team’s success?

“Throughout the years, we’ve gained a lot of experience about what competition is like. This year, we’re so well prepared for the unexpected, which can trip [someone] up so easily,” Guo said.

“There’s always the chance that there will be an objection or line of questioning you’ve never thought of. We have to be prepared to think on our feet and come up with things on the fly,” cross lawyer Katherine Wang said.

The team also does run-throughs during practices to try to simulate a real trial. During these practices, WHS’s prosecution and defense teams face each other to prepare themselves for any unexpected points brought up by another school’s attorney.

Winning regionals sparked excitement within the team as Wayland has not been the regional champion for over six years.

“In the end, I felt quite proud,” Guo said.

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