MORRISTOWN, NJ - The Morristown High School Mock Trial team won recent back-to-back victories in the preliminary round of the Morris County section of the Vincent J. Apruzzese Mock Trial Competition, sponsored by the New Jersey State Bar Foundation. Now in its 36th year, the New Jersey competition is one of the nation’s foremost contests of its kind for high school students. Last year 216 teams registered statewide.
The victories, earned at the Morris County Courthouse, enabled the squad to advance to the county quarterfinal round for the first time in their brief three-year history. Morris County has a reputation for producing one of the strongest competitive fields state-wide. Many of the programs have more than 20 years of experience.
In their first trial, the prosecution team, led by attorneys Alex Arenas and Elyse Genrich, won a tight battle with one of the other 13 Morris County high school teams. Mock trial teams compete "blind" - in order to eliminate any issue of bias from the judges, the identities of the high schools are kept "under wraps." Witnesses in the case were Julia Bozza, Connor Startzel, and Sofia Wawryzniak.
In their second trial, the defense team, led by attorneys Benson Liu and Talia Wagener, won their contest with another tough Morris County opponent. Witnesses in the case were Nick Voltaggio, Jess Vogel, and Darius Sattari.
The prosecution team lost a close decision in the single elimination quarterfinal round. The Colonials team did not have a single senior in the starting lineup, so they are looking forward to bringing an experienced veteran squad to the competition next year. The semifinal and final rounds will he held this coming Monday, January 29th and Wednesday, January 31st, respectively.
Coach/advisor Bruce Chamberlain had this to say of the effort, "I am very proud of the team and its progress. Several of the students are athletes and all maintain a challenging academic schedule, some with multiple AP classes. To win at this level with all that on their plates is nothing short of amazing. That said, we would be nowhere without our volunteer attorneys who counseled us every step of the way."
Volunteer attorneys that assisted the team were: Bridget Beyer, Esq., Helen Tuttle - Partner, Drinker, Biddle & Reath, LLP, James M. Porfido - Attorney at Law and Chris Schellhorn - Assistant Prosecutor.
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