In just its second year participating, the Regis Mock Trial team earned the New York City Mock Trial High School Championship, and placed second out of over 300 teams for the New York State title. The Regis team became the youngest program ever to win the city championship, and is believed to be the youngest ever to reach the state finals. They finished the season 10-1, with the only loss coming by a slim margin in the state championships final in Albany.
“We didn’t set expectations for ourselves, which allowed us to enjoy the activity throughout with no stress, which—looking back—may have been our secret to success,” said team captain Wally Cook ’17.
Cook described living through the tournament as exhilarating.
“The entire competition is designed as one, giant, single-elimination bracket that makes each round a high stakes, do-or-die match. Imagine a March Madness tournament with three hundred teams instead of 64 and you have the New York State Mock Trial Tournament,” said Cook.
During the week leading up to each trial, Cook says the team of thirteen would sit in a classroom for upwards of four hours and debate everything from case law to presentation style. Before the first few competitions, they would rewrite entire direct and cross examinations, but, as they went deeper into the tournament, these practices would be used more for fine tweaking.
“The rounds were held in actual courthouses, which became more extravagant as the competition progressed. During the city championship, we had the honor of competing in the John F. Keenan (Regis ’47) Ceremonial Courtroom at the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse. The significance of winning the city championship in only our second year as a team in a courtroom named after a Regis alum was not lost on any of us,” added Cook.
While most teams in the competition worked closely with a law firm for guidance on case preparation, the Regis team was guided only by parent volunteer John Sullivan ’86 P’18. Andrew Kent (Theology department) and Don Allison (Vice President for Finance) also served as the team’s co-moderators.
Cook found that the entire process served as an incredible learning experience.
“We learned a lot about how to argue in front of a judge and how to discredit a witness, but we also learned how to work as a team.”
While reflecting on his own growth throughout the competition, junior Andrew Sullivan ’18 noted that, “we started out last year knowing very little about how the high school competition worked and the many intricacies of trial proceedings.”
“Over the course of last year we practiced for many long hours in anticipation of the competitions, and the results showed,” added Sullivan.
Sullivan hopes the team’s hard work will carry over into next year.
“There's only one way we want to go from here, and that's up.”
Pictured: The 2017 Regis Mock Trial team after winning the New York City championship. Team members included Ryan Cimmino ’17, Wally Cook ’17, Tommy DiMartino ’17, Zach Espiritu ’17, Andrew Ford ’17, Kyle Jones ’17, TJ Li ’17, Kevin Murray ’17, George Schouten ’18, Mack Sheehan ’17, Andrew Sullivan ’18, John Timony ’17, and Randall Zuccalmaglio ’17.