River Valley Mock Trial competed in the Wisconsin High School Mock Trial Regionals on Saturday, February 6 and Sunday, February 7. The regional was conducted virtually with the River Valley trial members performing at the high school and the opposition schools at their homes or local campus. The tournament was coordinated from La Crosse with judges from the La Crosse area. The regional consisted of two trials per day, with River Valley representing the prosecution twice and the defendant twice.
On Saturday’s morning trial, River Valley drew one of Superior High School’s two teams in the tournament. Led by the near-perfect witness presentations from senior Declan Daniel and junior Nicholas Daniel, the Blackhawks notched their first win of the weekend, sweeping all three of the judge cards in a 173-152 victory.
River Valley matched up with SWAL rival Prairie du Chien in Saturday’s afternoon trial. The Blackhawks pulled away early on the strength of a perfect performance score by senior witness Sam Seguin and a near-perfect performance score by senior witness Kelsey Olson. Valley would end the trial with a perfect closing statement score from senior attorney Emily Kane. For the second time in the tournament, Valley would take all three judge cards, and post a 182-175 win.
On Sunday’s morning trial, the Blackhawks met La Crosse-area Melrose-Mindoro High School. Despite losing on the presiding judge’s card, which does not record point totals, Valley resoundingly defeated the Mustangs on the two performance judges’ cards with a total score of 178-153. The round was led by a near-perfect cross examination performance by senior attorney Paula Hollenberger and another near-perfect witness presentation by Nicholas Daniel.
In the last trial of the tournament, River Valley was power-matched in the championship round with Superior High School’s other competing team, who was also undefeated in their first three trials. Valley finished strong, fueled by perfect scores in direct examination by attorney Kane and cross examination by attorney Hollenberger. Both schools took a judge card a piece, with the final scoring judge nudging out River Valley by a single point on his card, 93-92. River Valley was awarded second place in the tournament.
The Wisconsin Bar Association has deemed only regional winners will continue on to the State Championships this year due to COVID restrictions. The State Semifinals will be conducted virtually on March 6 and 7.
The senior members of the 2021 Mock Trial team at Valley end their careers with a combined 19 perfect performance scores and three regional championships. The Blackhawks are coached by attorney coach John Conlon and teacher coach Jason Hollenberger.
—Jason Hollenberger, Mock Trial Head Coach