This past month, the Kingswood Oxford Mock Trial team, the Legal Wyverns, won trial after trial, and worked their way to the semi-finals. On Friday, Feb. 8, the Legal Wyverns participated in the second round of the Mock Trial Competition at Quinnipiac Law School. They were placed in a preliminary trial by random draw after winning their regional round earlier in the year.
After winning their preliminary trial, they then competed in the next trial of the competition on the same day. A victory in this round placed KO in the final eight teams in Connecticut. Then on Friday, Feb. 22, the Legal Wyverns participated in the semi-finals and yet again won their trial.
In the second round of the competition, both sides of the Legal Wyverns teams competed. In the morning, the Legal Wyverns plaintiff side, was comprised of seniors Mia Seymour and Mike Autorino, juniors James Ravalese and Alyssa Pilecki, sophomore Caitlin Budzik, and freshman Will Wells. They went up against Immaculate School and won a definitive victory.
Then the team moved on to the next trial. The Legal Wyverns Defense, comprised of senior Tom Betts, junior Aidan O’Loughlin, sophomores Kyle Frankel and Risha Ranjan, and freshmen Pat Schwab and Caroline Boardman, went up against Xavier High School and yet again won by a wide margin.
The victories in these trials marked the farthest that the Legal Wyverns have ever been in the Mock Trial competition. “I think going into Quinnipiac we knew that we had a really strong chance,” Mia said. “I think there was a lot of nerves, but both teams performed so incredibly well, and it was great that we both got to compete.”
In the next trial the team’s plaintiffs were up against Westhill High School in the quarter finals. “I felt really good going into the quarter finals,” James said. “We had practiced a lot and I think we were very prepared.”
The rest of the team shared James’ sentiment. “We were all super excited, as we had never made it that far,” Mia said, “so I didn’t know what to expect. We knew that the level of competition would be unlike all the teams we had seen before, so we had to be on our A game and go into the trial ready to support each other.”
The quarter finals at Middletown Superior Court ended with a victory for KO. At this time the scores have not yet been released but those present at the trial attest that the Legal Wyverns were the clear winners. “I think the reason we have gotten this far is because of our execution,” Mike said. “We really understood the case, and because of that understanding have been able to fight objections, and articulate our arguments.”
At the quarter finals, scoring was done by a panel of four judges and there was one ruling judge. In the past trials there had only been one or two judges who both ruled and scored. This meant the trial offered new experiences for the Legal Wyverns. “I really liked the change to having a jury,” Mike said. “I liked the fact that I didn’t have to talk to a judge but could talk to a jury. It made the trial feel more authentic. As a lawyer you are trying to convey a story and it’s more fun if you have an audience.”
This year, the team has made it farther than ever, but a lot of work and effort went into preparation. “The dedication and time that all Mr. C, Mrs. Ravalese, Judge Budzik and Ms. McKee have given to us is the reason why we have been so successful,” Mia said. “This sets us up to have really strong years in the future because we have seen the level of competition and execution we have to perform at. As sad as I am to be graduating, it is wonderful for my last year of mock trial to end with such a successful season.”
Since the season has been so successful, the coaches are incredibly happy. “I could not be more proud of how the Legal Wyverns performed,” Mock Trial Coach Ryan Costantini said. “From the start of the year, the team has been laser-focused on making a statement in this year’s competition and that they have done.”