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Mock Trial Team



ounties. Regionals. States. Nationals. The mock trial team of Bergen Catholic High School not only reached these impressive heights, but excelled in every single round.

Captains Niko Paladino and Jack Meloro assembled the team members each weekday to dissect the intricacies of the case. A team was picked, composed of lawyers Niko Paladino, Jack Meloro and Hanlon Lowell, along with witnesses Shay Dineen, Will Haracz, Joe Barile, Dan Ramge and Jack Calderwood. The competition began with Bergen Catholic de-

feating Dwight Morrow Academies and New Milford High School. Bergen Catholic advanced to the quarterfi- nals, beating Ramapo High School. The team then beat Immaculate Heart Academy in the semifinals. Finally, the team defeated Torah Academy in the finals. In the span of a few weeks, Bergen Catholic became the two- time Bergen County Mock Trial Champion. On the regional level, Bergen Catholic faced off

against Newark Academy, which proved to be the closest trial yet, with the Crusaders coming out on top again. Bergen Catholic then moved onto the final regional round against High Point Academy. Another win landed the Crusaders in the state playoff. Three teams appeared in the state championship:

Bergen Catholic, Cherry Hill High School West and Oratory Preparatory School. Bergen Catholic defeated Oratory Prep in the state semifinals, but due to the odd number of teams in the state bracket, Oratory Prep was able to return to the finals after defeating Cherry Hill

West. But just as they were defeated before, Bergen Catholic struck Oratory Prep down again. In doing so, the Crusader mock trial team became the undefeated state champions of New Jersey, which is home to more than 200 competing mock trial teams. The mock trial team then flew to Boise, Idaho,

which hosted the National Mock Trial Championship for the 2015–16 season. The Crusaders fought against four other states over the course of two days: Alabama, Col- orado, Wisconsin and California. They won against Ala- bama and lost by a very close margin to Colorado, but each trial allowed the Crusaders to better themselves. The Wisconsin state champions were the greatest team Bergen Catholic faced this season, but Bergen Catholic came out on top, only to face a mock trial powerhouse: California, where over 600 teams compete and one team is left standing. Bergen Catholic utilized the skill of pin- pointing errors in its opposition’s presentation, and cap- italizing on it through powerful delivery of witness and lawyer’s statements. Ultimately, the Jersey boys tri- umphed, which landed them in 13th place out of the en- tire nation. The success was largely due to the dedication of the team members, Mr. Peter Coleman (moderator), Mr. Kevin Long (attorney-coach) and the group of Cru- sader teachers, administrators and parents who rooted for the team throughout their entire journey. Before this year’s season, the Crusaders were a force

to be reckoned with in the mock trial scene. Now, they are the force to be reckoned with, and plan to continue their excellence in the coming years.

Summer/Fall 2016 17

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