The Rhinelander High School Mock Trial Team was declared the 2013 state champion Monday, March 11, in their record-breaking 21st appearance before the justices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. It was the 16th title for the Hodags, yet another state record.
The RHS team qualified for the finals by defeating teams from La Crosse Logan, Shorewood, Brookfield Academy and Appleton Xavier. Xavier was the defending state champion, having won the title in three of the past four years.
This year, RHS was the only undefeated team in the semi-finals. The second place team was Brookfield Academy, so the finals were a rematch between the two teams, each on the opposite side of the case.
The tournament is sponsored by the State Bar of Wisconsin, with more than 100 teams competing statewide. In the past 30 years since the mock trial program was introduced as an extracurricular activity, no student has participated in the RHS Mock Trial program for four years without having competed in the finals as a member of one of the top two teams in the state, and all participating students but one have been a member of a state championship team.
“The seniors on this year’s team have ensured that this tradition will continue,” said attorney coach Jim Jacobi.
Members of the RHS team are seniors Matt Anderson, Amber Toboyek, Melissa Sheth, Elisha Sheffer and Lauren Sexton; and juniors Lydia O’Brien and Amber Sheth. According to attorney coach Judge Mike Bloom, “This is a very cohesive group of students who truly work together as a team and they displayed that throughout the tournament.”
Teacher coach Kathy Vick-Martini added, “Our students just keep getting better and better, but they have to, because everybody else in the state is getting better, too.”
The Rhinelander team will now represent Wisconsin in the National High School Mock Trial Tournament in Indianapolis, Ind. May 8 through 11. Anyone wishing to contribute to help meet tournament expenses may send a check to Rhinelander High School, to the attention of Kathy Vick-Martini, and made out to the RHS Mock Trial Team.