Mock Trial

Not all High School Sports need to be athletic


Photo Courtesy of Tatyana Fateyeva

The Archie Williams Mock Trial team after their tournament, celebrating with their awards.

Mock Trial is the only academic sport offered at Archie Williams and has acquired recent excitement among students. The team wrapped up their season with a final tournament in late January, where they finished with two wins and two losses. This season proved to be the team’s best in years and they couldn’t be more proud of their performance, as well as the growth they experienced as individuals.

Mock trial consists of a prosecution team that competes against a defense team, simulating a real trial in court. A jury of attorneys score the competition based on fluidity, professionalism, and how well players take on their character. Each team member receives a score that adds to the total team score, and whichever team has a higher total score wins. 

In other words, the competition is not won or lost based on the verdict of the trial. How well the players are able to stay in character and present their case is what determines the result. 

Archie Williams Mock Trial Co-Captains Jack Long and Sasha Yovino guided the team all season by organizing practices, team dinners, and being role models for their teammates.

“It was the best our team has done in a long, long time. We’ve always been at the back, but now we’re at the top of the bottom. So we’re rapidly rising,” Jack said.

The team met twice a week for practices and scrimmaged out-of-county teams in preparation for their MCAL mock trial tournament. The MCAL tournament is four rounds. Two of which the defense team competes in, and two of which the prosecution team competes in.

Archie Williams Mock Trial co-captains Jack Long and Sasha Yovino strike a pose. (Photo Courtesy Ford Cocciolo)

During practices, players work on what arguments they’re going to make, what role they are playing in the case, and how to conduct themselves during the trial.

“You have to know how to remain calm in the face of this nerve-racking scene and present your argument in a calm, cohesive and understandable manner,” Sasha said.

Jack believes that one of the greatest personal benefits from Mock Trial is his increased public speaking skills.

 “Mock Trial, more than anything else, teaches you how to speak publicly. It teaches you how to be cool under pressure and think critically in a very intense situation,” Jack said. “It changes you for the better. It took me from being unable to speak in public to Senior Class Presidency. It’s an amazing transformative program.”

Sasha takes pride in the teams’ emphasis on personal growth and individual techniques.

 “I would say a lot of other teams kind of seem robotic or they all kind of look the same. But we pride ourselves in having a lot of really unique people who each bring their own personal style to their arguments and that’s really the best way you’re going to learn to excel in public speaking,” Sasha said.

Apart from the academic benefits that students get out of Mock Trial, the team’s community provides ground for students to build long lasting and meaningful relationships through a common interest.

“I joined trying to improve myself and I absolutely made that progress, but I also joined for the people who were there,” Jack said. “And that’s kind of one of the best parts of mock trial is the community and meeting people, finding a place where you can belong and a place where you can succeed and find your own niche in high school.”

The Archie Williams mock trial team proves that there is a sport for everyone, including those that are not the stereotypical athlete. While the 2022 to 2023 season has concluded, the team will be back preparing to go to court next fall.