Falling short by just a single ballot, the Dos Pueblos High School mock-trial team was defeated in the finals Monday morning of the Empire Mock Trial Association’s Empire City Invitational World Championship in New York City.
In an all-California final, La Reina High School from Thousand Oaks defended its 2011 title with a 4-3 victory over the Dos Pueblos team. La Reina is the two-time defending California champion who narrowly defeated the Chargers in last year’s state final.
With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on New York City, Monday’s final was moved from the Brooklyn Courthouse to the ballroom of the Brooklyn Marriott.
It was the Dos Pueblos team who had stormed into the tournament by defeating their bracket’s No. 1 seed — Henry Grady High School from Atlanta — in the second round and winning every single ballot on their way to the final. The Chargers advanced to the final as the only undefeated team in the tournament before coming up short against La Reina.
Teams were divided into two brackets and competed in four rounds Saturday and Sunday, with the top team in each bracket progressing to the championship.
The fictional case tried during each round, with students playing attorneys and witnesses for the plaintiff and defense, was about a 2-year-old boy who died after swallowing toy beads covered in a chemical that converts to GHB, also known as the “date rape drug.”
During the championship round, Dos Pueblos took the role of the plaintiff and La Reina played the role of the defense. A New York judge heard the case, and attorneys served as scorers.
Amid Hurricane Sandy, the two teams from California, along with the other 34 teams, will be camped out in the hotel until later this week when area airports are reopened. Because of their extended stay, the two California teams are hoping to work together to raise funds to pay the extra thousands of dollars they will need to stay until they can fly home.
The members of the Dos Pueblos mock-trial team were captains Alison Mally, Hannah Cruz and Nimisha Shinday, and Madeline Matthys, Madeline Centrella, Delia Bullok, Camille Wyss, Sophia Zheng, Ami Thakrar, Bela Lafferty and Sean Strong.
Coaches were Bill Woodard, Maureen Grattan, Joel Block and Scott Campbell.
— Bill Woodard is the assistant principal at Dos Pueblos High School and the faculty adviser for its Mock Trial team.