LA VISTA — The final verdict is Scotus Central Catholic capped a very successful mock trial season.
A team of eight seniors finished second Tuesday at the state mock trial competition.
“I think that is a record for Scotus,” said teacher-coach Kelly Koranda on the team’s drive home from La Vista.
Scotus had just finished the two-day competition that concluded with the Shamrocks facing Creighton Prep in the final round.
Even though they didn’t capture a state title that would have sent them to the national competition, the Scotus students were happy with the season that began in August when they started preparing for the case.
“We were incredibly surprised,” Alaina Wallick said of reaching the final round.
The team lost in the district final last year and set its sights on qualifying for state this season. That happened when the team claimed the district title then won its first three rounds at state to reach the championship.
“We didn’t think we would make it. We knew we worked hard and we felt good about all the previous rounds before,” said Scotus team member Faith Przymus. “We were surprised that we went 3-0, which is difficult to do.”
Koranda said the team members put in a lot of hard work this year and were motivated.
Unlike some schools, Scotus doesn’t have mock trial as a class. It is an extracurricular activity. The team was advised by attorneys Breanna Anderson and Tonia Soukup, who helped with legal and courtroom procedures.
Team members had to be prepared to present both sides of a case in which the plaintiff claimed the defendant caused them to have an epileptic seizure because the content of a social media message included a flashing “strobe” light.
In mock trial, an original case is created for two teams of witnesses and lawyers to debate against each other.
Scotus practiced for weeks to get ready to play the role of the defendant or the plaintiff. In the final round at state, a coin flip determined which side they would represent.
Wallick said the team had a lot of strengths, including solid witnesses and lawyers presenting good responses and objections.
The runner-up finish tops Scotus' previous best showing at state mock trial, which was fifth place, according to team members.
“Our work paid off,” Przymus said.
Other members of the team include Trey Dallman, Caitlin Steiner, Jenna Salerno, Brock Kracman, Matthew Bichlmeier and Natalie Brutty.