Kaua‘i High wins another title

Kaua‘i High School’s Mock Trial team recently won the state championship again.

Can you say “Mock Trial dynasty?” They beat Hawaii Baptist Academy (HBA) from O‘ahu 95 to 90 at the new Lihu‘e courthouse.

This is the school’s ninth state title in the last 10.

Last year, the team took second at nationals, but this May, they get another crack at chasing that top title.

“The trials are always close (matches),” said Kaua‘i High’s senior captain Lauren Chun. “To win by five is really good.” For the mock trials, the students are given roles to play in real-life courtroom situations.

Students are either attorneys for the defense or for the plaintiff, timekeepers or witnesses. The judge awards points on a scale of 0 to 10, based on examinations by the attorneys and the credibility of the witnesses in parts of each segment of the trial.

The whole 18-member team was split into half, with nine rehearsing for the plaintiff and the other nine rehearsing for the defense.

In the coin toss for the match against HBA, Kaua‘i High’s plaintiff team got to compete for the championship. Chun was a cross-examiner and the main-argument closer for this year’s competition, in a case where a spectator at a basketball game gets hit with a clip board by a professional basketball player on steroids to treat a knee injury.

She said that there were a lot of expectations for them going into the competition. Despite their wins, the mock trials don’t get any easier to handle, she added.

“It was still the same amount of stress,” she said. “I tried not to think about that. It can get pretty tense, but you have to not seem nervous. You have to keep the illusion.” The team members receive a package with the case to be acted out in early April, which gives them a month to prepare themselves for the national competition.

“We can’t really start working on the case now, or on the law. All we can do is go over the rules and talk about the basic things,” Chun said.

Nicolas Hasegawa, also a senior returning captain for the team, was the closer for the defense, and was a little disappointed he didn’t get the chance to compete. But he still kept a positive outlook.

“Basically, I tried to focus on my role as a team captain,” he said. “It’s always a lot of fun doing these trials. It doesn’t get any better with nationals. You get the best competition there.” Hasegawa said that, through experiences with the team members, he’s gotten to meet and learn from actual attorneys. This helps them get into their roles.

“We know our objections, and know how to adapt in certain situations,” he said.

Hasegawa said he thinks the team is well-prepared to compete, again, at the national level.

The students are coached by Ted Chihara, James Ratcliffe, Aric Fujii and Becky Sagamitsu and teacher advised by Andrea Watts.

“I think we have very good attitudes,” he said.

• Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or lcabalo@kauaipubco.com.

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