Rhinelander mock trial team finishes 8th in the nation
As their mock trial careers came to a close at the National High School Mock Trial Championship in Madison, senior co-captains Amber Sheth and Lydia O’Brien had much to be proud of. They qualified for the national tournament by leading a young and inexperienced team to yet another State championship in March, the 17th title for the Hodags, a state and national record. At the national tournament this past weekend, they led their team to a prestigious “Top Ten” finish among the state champions in the nation. “This was our best showing at Nationals in a decade and it wouldn’t have been possible without the talented leadership of Amber and Lydia,” said faculty coach Kathy Vick-Martini. Both girls were named the “Outstanding Performer” in an attorney role in multiple rounds of competition.
Three underclassmen on the team were also recognized as “Outstanding Performers” in witness roles, junior Erin Tenderholt, and freshmen Ellie Rickman and Albi Sabani. The remaining team members were Mike Anderson, Emily Ditzler, Anna Catlin, and Sydney Schallock. “This was the first national tournament experience for seven of our nine team members,” stated Vick-Martini, “and I saw a personal best from each of them.”
The RHS team placed 8th out of the 46 teams in the tournament, with a 3-1 record. Wins were earned against Minnesota, Idaho, and Guam. Their loss was a split-decision to Ohio, which finished third in the tournament. “I was proud of our team and how they handled the pressure of competing against state champions from around the nation,” said Oneida County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bloom, a legal advisor for the team. Also coaching the team were attorneys Jim Jacobi and Amy Ferguson.
The national title was won by the Washington State champion, Seattle Preparatory School, the team that knocked the Hodags out of the “Top Ten” at last year’s tournament. Rhinelander High School won the national title in 1989 and placed second in 2004.