Mock Trial team reaches Marin County final

By Justine Beales & Elise Jonas-Delson

The San Marin Mock Trial Team placed second at the Marin County Mock Trial Competition on Feb. 1, scoring within a margin of 0.78 percentage points below Tamalpais High School, the undefeated county champions of 26 years. Courtroom artist Natasha Linssen, who received an “outstanding performance” award for her artwork, will advance to the California Mock Trial Finals in March.

Each year, the Constitutional Rights Foundation creates a fictitious case for high school mock trial. This year, the case was People v. Matsumoto. In the case, defendant Bailey Matsumoto was charged with murder in the first degree after their spouse was found dead in the master bathroom of their home. In mock trial, all witnesses and all attorney roles are students who rely on the facts of the case to develop their arguments.

Over two competition days, San Marin went 4-0 in trials against Marin Academy, Marin Catholic, San Rafael and Redwood to qualify for the final round against Tamalpais. Sophomore Rose Hayes and senior Arsal Shazad received “outstanding performance” awards for their portrayal of the defense medical expert and courtroom bailiff, respectively.

Senior and prosecution team captain Athena Yap and sophomore Leo Perez were recognized by opposing teams during both preliminary trials.

Yap, who gave the prosecution’s closing statement, described the team’s mentality as they entered the final round.

“We were all excited and a little nervous as we walked in the finals, but we knew we were coming in with our ‘A’ game and going to give it our all,” Yap said. She added that the team has “demonstrated our ability to work under pressure and critically think during our competition trials.”

Senior and defense team captain Chloe Mahachek said she was proud of the team’s performance in the finals. “That was our best trial of both weekends and I thought it was nice that we rose to the challenge,” Mahachek said.

Alumni coach Kaitlyn Thomson said that this year’s team was “the most successful San Marin Mock Trial team since the 1993-1994 season.” Thomson added that the team’s performance in the finals “showed Marin County that San Marin is a force to be reckoned with, and that Tam High is not unbeatable.”

The competition marked the end of coach Christopher Sheron’s final season after 11 years working with the team.

“We almost pulled off an upset for the ages,” Sheron said. “Hopefully the Mustangs’ success this season will bring greater exposure to the Mock Trial team, and will help attract San Marin students and new volunteer attorney coaches to participate in this valuable and inspiring program.”

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