The mock trial team won their 12th consecutive regionals competition against 10 other local teams on Saturday, February 12.
Shorewood’s team has had a long and consistently successful past.
“This is our 12th consecutive year [going to state]. We’ve been to nationals once and we’ve been to the final round [at state] five times in the past eight years … It’s been good,” said Debra Schwinn, social studies teacher and mock trial advisor.
This year brought the same success, but continuous success takes hard work.
“It’s a lot of work. We practice at minimum six hours a week and in a lot of cases, that’s just the team practice,” Schwinn said.
According to Schwinn, most members of the team also spend time practicing individually.
Both Shorewood’s JV and varsity teams made it to the final round at regionals, where they were paired against each other, with varsity coming out on top.
“The hardest team our varsity ever faces is their own JV … It’s always a highlight when we end up against each other in the final round. This year’s final round was in a beautiful, big courtroom with a real judge, and it was both team’s at their absolute best … It was great. It was like they had a real, actual, honest-to-god trial experience,” Schwinn said.
“One of the highlights of regionals was being able to go to the federal courthouse because it was really cool to run the trials in actual courtrooms in front of real judges. The building was beautiful and the competition was very fun,” said Rachel Robrecht, sophomore and prosecution lawyer on the JV team.
“Winning regionals was a highlight … It was really fun to go against our [JV] team in the final round,” said Tricia Nelsen, senior and witness for the varsity team.
Now that Shorewood has won regionals, the team is back to preparing for state, which, according to Schwinn, is different than in previous years.
“This year there were three weeks between regionals and state. Normally we have five, so we’ve been practicing practically every single day … It’s just really intense,” Schwinn said.
Additionally, this year’s state competition has been reworked. Now, teams compete in front of people who specialize in mock trial judging instead of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
“Last year we had some difficulties in the final round. This year, they’ve changed the competition … so it’s a whole new final round, and we’re really hoping to get there,” Schwinn said.
“I’m … really proud of my team, and I’m glad that it’s still Shorewood going to state for the 12th year in a row. I’m excited to see our varsity team hopefully win state and go to nationals,” Robrecht said.
“I’m really excited to see better competition [at state] because a lot of teams at regionals don’t put as much effort into it as we do here,” Nelsen said.
“The reason that Shorewood’s team is so successful is because our guys … work so hard … They’re a very dedicated team. Somebody accused us of being a cult. We’re not sure if we are or not, but we know we’re pretty dedicated to what we do and each other, so if that’s a cult, then we’re a cult,” Schwinn said.
The varsity team will be competing at state on Saturday, March 7, with the championship on the following day.
by Eli Frank