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Trial Adjourned: Mock Trial Wraps Up Historic Season

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Tyrone Mock Trial A Team

Tyrone Mock Trial A Team

Tyrone Mock Trial A Team

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Donning power suits instead of sneakers, the Tyrone mock trial A team got their own taste of March Madness this spring when they argued as the plaintiff against Trinity High School’s defense in the State Mock Trial Regional Finals. Under the guidance of faculty adviser Todd Cammarata and attorney adviser Aimee Willett, they became the first mock trial team in school history to win the district and advance to the regional playoffs with their win over Huntingdon a week prior.

Tyrone hoped to continue its remarkable and historic success in this trial, with the winner advancing to the state tournament in Dauphin County. Though on paper Trinity was the more accomplished team, Tyrone wasn’t entering the courtroom with an underdog mindset.

This season has been the biggest year for mock trial that this school has ever seen. I can’t begin to explain how amazing it felt to be a part of that”

— Senior Zack Webster

From the start, it was clear that both teams were well-prepared and sharp. Despite poor acoustics and all objections being overruled, Tyrone powered through to present a compelling argument as to why Tiger Tail Technologies violated the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Protection Act.

While being questioned by attorneys Brent McNeel and Molly Harris, witnesses Brandon Escala, Grayson Putt, and Megan Dale portrayed their roles convincingly and tried to fend of Trinity’s aggressive cross-examination.When Trinity began calling their own witnesses to refute the plaintiff’s claims, McNeel and Chloe Makdad were tasked with discrediting their testimony while bolstering Tyrone’s arguments.

Once closing arguments concluded, the six-member jury was split, with three jurors finding in favor of Tyrone and three finding in favor of Trinity. The tie-breaking procedure takes into account the total points that each side scored across all ballots.

After five months of legal pads and objection battles, 3 points came between Tyrone and a trip to states.

“That was a tough loss. I give credit to Trinity because they are a great team, but I honestly thought we had that one,” said Cammarata. “But I have no regrets, our team did a fantastic job all year long.”

The final verdict on Tyrone’s mock trial season?

Success.

“This season has been the biggest year for mock trial that this school has ever seen,” said senior witness Zack Webster. “I can’t begin to explain how amazing it felt to be a part of that.”

Tyrone has had plenty of preseason success in the past but brought home some hardware for the first time with a third-place finish at Penn State’s Blue and White Courtroom Classic, as well as a best attorney award for senior Chloe Makdad. At the Pitt Invitational, Makdad received another best attorney award and sophomore Hanna Denny earned a best witness award. Tyrone also defeated the eventual state runner-up, Penn-Trafford at this tournament.

More elusive for Tyrone in the past was success in the district competition. After an 11 year existence and many close calls, Tyrone advanced to the district playoffs for the first time. Tyrone was the only team in the district with two teams in the playoffs this year.

The B-team’s season ended with a loss to perennial power Altoona A, but the A-team handily defeated longtime rival Huntingdon to advance to regionals.

While ending the season in the regional playoffs, the team has much to be proud of.

All the credit goes to the team, especially the fantastic group of seniors we had this year.  They put in many, many hours of work and provided me with so many great memories over the years”

— Adviser Todd Cammarata

“I’m so proud of this group of students. They really took ownership of the case,” said Cammarata. “All the credit goes to the team, especially the fantastic group of seniors we had this year.  They put in many, many hours of work and provided me with so many great memories over the years.”

Losing Tyrone mock trial’s most decorated senior class in Molly Harris, Chloe Makdad, Jonathan Clifton, Zack Webster, Grayson Putt, and Morgan Bridges, it will take some work for the team to replicate it’s historic success.

“Next season is definitely going to be a rebuilding year for mock trial,” said Denny. “A-team is losing half its members and it’s [going to] take a while to get those moving up from B-team accustomed to the flow.”

However, with the unexpected success of this year’s B-team and some experienced veterans remaining of the A-team, the program could continue on its path of growth and success.

“I hope that the standard of excellence set by this team can carry on into the future and we can remain a competitive team in our county and region,” said Cammarata.

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Trial Adjourned: Mock Trial Wraps Up Historic Season