BSM mock trial team looks ahead to a promising season

The+2021-2022+BSM+Mock+Trial+team.

Courtesy of Mary Murray

The 2021-2022 BSM Mock Trial team.

The BSM Mock Trial team has had a lot of success in previous years. JV and varsity are filled with students ranging from 7th-12th grade, creating a wide variety of talent this year. The captains for varsity this year are juniors Jillian Petty, Francesca Litchenberger, and senior Suzy Haakonson. The captains for JV are Emma Grniet and Audrey Howell.

The season starts in the middle of October, when the court case is released to schools statewide and runs through February. The court case consists of a made-up criminal case that schools across the state will have to be prepared to either prove the prosecution or the defense’s side of that particular case. The beginning of the season consists of preparation and scrimmages until they start their actual competitions in January.

The Mock Trial team practices two to three times a week and has four to five scrimmages a season, as well as actual competitions. During the last two seasons, practices have been virtual because of COVID-19. “We have three attorneys that work with us and we basically go over our most recent scrimmage and talk about what was good and what we need to work on. We usually break up into groups and work on stuff as well. There might be a group that’s working on their opening or closing statements, there’s a group that’s working with one of the lawyers on objections, and there might be a group that’s working on going over the character development of their witness,” BSM Mock Trial advisor Mary Murray said.

We have three attorneys that work with us and we basically go over our most recent scrimmage and talk about what was good and what we need to work on. We usually break up into groups and work on stuff as well. There might be a group that’s working on their opening or closing statements, there’s a group that’s working with one of the lawyers on objections, and there might be a group that’s working on going over the character development of their witness”

— Murray

The team participates in at least four competitions per season. Competitions are typically held at the Hennepin County Government Center, but due to Covid they will be held virtually this season. Depending on how well the team does during the season, regional competitions may be followed by a week of sub-regionals and possibly the state competition. Their first competition for JV and varsity is set to be on January 11th and 13th. “I’m super excited for sections starting this week. I’m very proud of our team and I think we definitely have the potential to get to state again,” Litchenberger said.

The scoring is based on points for each of the different components in a trial. The team’s goal is to get ten points for each component, such as the opening and closing statements. Every year there’s a new court case that the Mock Trial team uses for the entire season. Every other year it switches from a criminal case to a civil case. This year, it’s a criminal case. “So this year, it happens to be a case that is all about swindling and fraud. It’s about this company that saves dogs, it’s like a dog rescue. Of course this is all fictitious but these things really happen,” Murray said.

In previous seasons, the BSM Mock Trial team placed 8th in the Mock Trial state tournament for the 2020-2021 season. The Mock Trial team also placed 4th place in state in the 2019-2020 season and placed 5th in the 2018-2019 season.

The team competes against schools from all over Minnesota in regional and state competitions. They’re going against very large schools like Wayzata and Eden Prairie that some of BSM’s sports teams don’t even compete against. With tough competition this year, BSM’s Mock Trial team hopes to make it to the state tournament. “Our team’s goal is to win state. We have a lot of new talent on the team this year and I’m confident we can make it all of the way,” Litchenberger said.