RIVER FALLS — The high school Mock Trial A-Team is among 10 teams headed to state competition in the 38th Annual High School Mock Trial semifinals held March 6-7.
A total of 76 teams and more than 900 students competed in 10 virtual regions across the state. Students work in teams of up to 12 to argue a fictional case. This season‘s scenario is a pandemic-inspired murder-under-quarantine case.
"This year's team has worked incredibly hard under huge changes," teacher advisor Heather Boleman said. That includes competitions being held virtually over Zoom instead of in a courtroom.
Team members Pari Schils and Dailyn Wold are making their fourth consecutive trip to state, while Eliza Tool and Rachael Rahn have earned the trip to state the last three years, Boleman said. For Jenny Crooks, Ren Juza, Cecilia Downey, Eric Luebke, Nick Graff and Faylene Troemner, this will be their second trip to state. Ethan Fitzgerald is a newcomer to the top team this year.
River Falls High School Principal Kit Luedtke said the Wildcat community is proud of the Mock Trial Team and wishes them the best at state.
“Our students work very hard and long hours to prepare and practice all facets of the case and trial,” Luedtke said. He praised Boleman for her years of work "instilling a level of excellence and achievement with so many students.”
Volunteers from local law firm Bye, Goff, and Rohde mentored the team.
High School Mock Trial is a program of the State Bar of Wisconsin, funded by its charitable arm the Wisconsin Law Foundation. It is intended to help students learn about the legal system while developing leadership, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
River Fall High School’s team made it to 2nd place at the state tournament in 2017.
The two top teams at the semifinals will compete March 9, with the victor advancing to the National Mock Trial Tournament, held May 13-15 in Evansville, Indiana.
This story was updated Feb. 16, 2021, with additional comments and a photo.