On Nov. 27, at Danbury Superior Court, the Kingswood Oxford Mock Trial team, the Legal Wyverns, partook in the regional rounds of the annual Connecticut High School Mock Trial Tournament sponsored by Civics First, Inc. The team won trials as both plantiff and defense, sending them on to the next round.
Every year, 13 or more KO students get ready for the trials by preparing a case and arguing both sides of it.
The Legal Wyverns prepared with the help of Coach Ryan Costantini, Assistant Coach and Legal Advisor Theresa Ravalese, and Assistant Coach and Legal Advisor Judge Budzik. Additionally, the three captains seniors Tom Betts, Mia Seymour, and Michael Autorino played a crucial role in the preparation process.
“The 2018-2019 Legal Wyverns consisted of fifteen students with representatives from each form,” Mr. Costantini said. “We have a very experienced team. All but one starter competed at either the middle or high school level last year. Combined, the team had a total of 63 years of mock trial experience.”
In the Regional Round of the competition both sides of the case, plaintiff and defense, need to win their respective trials for the team to move on.
The defense side of the case was made up of three lawyers, Tom, junior Aidan O’Loughlin, and freshman Pat Schwab. The three witnesses were sophomore Kyle Frankel, sophomore Risha Ranjan, and freshman Caroline Boardman. The Defense went up against Bethel High. According to the team, they did very well. “Our team had minimal time to prepare due to the early date of the competition and scheduling conflicts, but we were able to pull it together and give an impressive performance on Tuesday,” Tom said.
After the first trial was over, the plaintiffs’ trial was next against Fairfield Prep. The plaintiff side of the team was made up of the three lawyers: Mia, Michael, and sophomore Caitlin Budzik. Junior James Ravalese, junior Alyssa Pilecki, and freshman Will Wells played the three witnesses. Additionally, for both trials and sides of the team, senior Matthew Safalow was the timekeeper and/or bailiff.
Mr. Constantini said that regardless of scheduling difficulties, the team did extremely well. “The team was challenged this year since we had less time to prepare than usual and I spent most of the fall out of the country for business,” he said. “However, the team was able to leverage its years of experience and was prepared for the competition.”
Each trial went well, and the team felt good about its success. “Both teams won, so in that sense we performed well and moved on to the next round,” Mia said. “Regardless of the outcome, though, both lawyers and witnesses did a great job arguing for their respective side.”
Tom agreed that the team performed its best. “KO did very well, winning trials as both plaintiff and defense,” he said. “All of our material was done off script, which gave us a competitive edge. Despite facing criticism from judges during both trials, our lawyers were unfazed and were able to deliver effective examinations and argue objections well.”
Now that the team has won the regional rounds, they will move onto the next round, which is to be held in January. “It is really exciting that we are moving on to the next round because this is my fourth year in a row making it to the Quarter Finals,” Mia said. “We have a very talented team.”