By Santa Barbara Unified School District
Dos Pueblos High School’s Mock Trial team won second place in the state finals over the weekend.
In Sunday’s championship round, the Dos Pueblos defense team was narrowly edged by the prosecution team from Menlo School in San Mateo County.
There are over 300 mock trial teams from across California that compete for county championships to earn a coveted berth in the state tournament. This year’s state finals took place in downtown Los Angeles.
At the competition, Dos Pueblos senior Jacob Molina was named an “Outstanding Attorney” for defending the fictional robbery and battery case of People v. Franks. After each round, the teams chose an MVP from the opposing team. MVP awards went to Theo Evans, Mackenzie Kelly, Amelia Mendro, and Molina.
The Dos Pueblos Mock Trial team competed at the state level after winning the Santa Barbara County competition earlier this month, edging out crosstown rivals San Marcos High School. The Dos Pueblos Mock Trial team also celebrated a third-place finish at the Empire Mock Trial invitational tournament in Baltimore, Maryland, earlier this school year.
“To say we are proud of these students is an understatement,” said Dr. Hilda Maldonado, Santa Barbara Unified Superintendent.“We know the teachers and coaches work hard to teach the lessons learned through this competition, like critical thinking, public speaking, and law. These skills will serve these students well throughout their life. They make SB Unified proud.”
Attorney coach Lisa Rothstein noted that the team had shown resilience. “We coaches are consistently amazed by this group of students. They’ve survived two Covid seasons and come out stronger. They’ve written, re-written, argued, objected to, and practiced this case until I imagine they were reciting the definition of hearsay in their dreams. We are fortunate to have inherited a great mock trial legacy at Dos Pueblos, and this team is proud to continue that tradition of excellence,” said Rothstein.
Dos Pueblos has enjoyed a long history of success in this competition. The team has won three state titles since the competition began 42 years ago and has earned a trip to the final championship round a record eight times.
Senior Edo Barel, one of the team captains, said he was surprised when he heard his team was headed to the championship round. “I don’t think I’ve ever been as shocked as I was at that moment. We were already happy to win County, but I’m so proud of us for taking second place at State. The experience is something I’ll never forget, and I got to have it with the best teammates in the world,” said Barel.
The varsity mock trial team captains are Edo Barel, Amelia Mendro, Jacob Molina, Maxfield Steele, and Io Zhu. Additional team members are seniors Mackenzie Kelly, Elyssa Crutchfield, Koi Liechti, Daniel Nickolov, Rachel Lenchner, juniors Charlotte Choi, Anastasia Li, Tobin Bohley, Alok Thakrar, Victoria Chen, sophomores Liam Avolio, Theo Evans, Sienna Valentine and first-year student Jonathan Yang.
The team is coached by teacher advisor Hannah Krieshok and attorney coaches Christine Voss, Lisa Rothstein, and Lina Somait.