San Marcos High School Mock Trial Team Takes 1st Place Countywide

San Marcos High School Mock Trial Team Takes 1st Place Countywide title=
San Marcos High School Mock Trial Team Takes 1st Place Countywide
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Source: Santa Barbara Unified School District

The championship San Marcos High School Mock Trial team [was] recognized by Superintendent Hilda Maldonado at the Tuesday, April 6, 2021 School Board Meeting. After winning the Santa Barbara County Mock Trial Championship in late February, the Royals team recently took fourth place in the California State Mock Trial Championship.

The annual competition - which this year included 32 teams from across the state - competed virtually via Zoom on March 18-21, followed by an awards ceremony where a special distinction went to San Marcos High Senior Jack Strand, named “Best Police Officer in the State” for his portrayal of the prosecution detective.

Sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation, Mock Trial puts students in real-life scenario roles such as lead attorney, witness, bailiff and detective as they conduct a hypothetical criminal case, including summaries of case law, witness statements and official exhibits.

“I’m so impressed by this team and the time and effort they put in to not just reach a common goal, but to succeed at a very high level,” said Superintendent Maldonado, who will recognize the team’s achievement during her Superintendent's Report, shortly after the start of the 6:30 pm School Board Meeting. “The Mock Trial program prepares students on so many important levels, including developing critical thinking and persuasive speaking. Congratulations to the entire team for representing our district so well at the State level!” 

The Royals are coached by teacher Luke Ohrn and attorneys Hilary Dozer and Jim Kreyger. The team’s senior captains are Ayla Sutter, Owen Williams, Peri Wilby, and Makena Shlens.

"In 15 years of coaching Mock Trial at San Marcos, this team stands apart as being steadfast in their mission, resilient, and tenacious,” said coach Ohrn. “They made the best of a difficult situation and showed real strength of character as they worked hard during every Zoom practice, scrimmage, and at the county and state competitions. I am very proud to have worked with these terrific students and our adult coaches.”

Jack Strand has participated on the Mock Trial team for all four years of high school. He said this year, the majority of his teammates are seniors as well, and have clearly benefited from that long-standing bond.

“We really have had the time to build that trust and chemistry as a team,” he said. “When you have that mutual respect for your team, it really shows. If you show up to a practice or a scrimmage unprepared, it’s going to show. One person can not win a Mock Trial case. But one person can lose it. One person can mess up and lose it for the whole team. You don’t want to be that person.”

San Marcos Principal Kip Glazer said the team “persevered through tough conditions during a global pandemic.”

“I have watched many of these students last year when they won their county championship,” Dr. Glazer said. “A few days later, we had to close schools, and they lost their chance to attend the State competition. I am so very glad that they were able to not only participate in this year's event but also do so well. I want to give a special shoutout to their coaches who have devoted countless hours to prepare these students so that they can do their very best."

At the county level, the mock trial event is sponsored by the Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO) with the support of the Santa Barbara County Superior Court.  To learn more about the Mock Trial program, click HERE.

School Board Meeting Zoom link: The Superintendent Report takes place toward the beginning of the meeting, which begins at 6:30 pm, Tuesday April 6, 2021.

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