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Citrus Valley’s Mock Trial team earns place in county semifinals

By EMIKO MILLER

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The Citrus Valley High School Mock Trial team posing for a picture in the San Bernardino Courthouse.

It takes unbelieveable talent to prepare both defense and prosecution for a murder trial. In the case of The People v. Davidson, the Citrus Valley Mock Trial team has both instilled doubt in regard to the defendant’s guilt and proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he is guilty. This in turn has earned them a place of second of thirty four teams in county and a spot in county semifinals. Not only is this impressive, but it is also entirely admirable given the circumstances the team has had to endure thus far.

Before auditions for the team were held, only six returning members presided. Seven new members were then accepted to the team, and practices were not taken lightly. Over half of the team lacked the experience and practice the returners possessed. However, the dedication from coaches Jennifer Carrillo, Chris Carrillo, Colin Child and Ken Carpenter truly shaped the group into the semifinalists they are now. Attorney coach Chris Carrillo adds that “this year’s team is a special group [that has] put in more time than I’ve ever seen at Citrus Valley including an elite tournament. I’m not surprised we are the rank two team going to semifinals; it’s been amazing to watch the personal growth of the students and watch them all grow as a team.”

Citrus Valley’s first opponent was RHS White, the school’s JV team, and the entire team can agree that it was absolutely intimidated. Because they were presenting the prosecution’s argument for the first time with a team of mostly new members against a well-sculpted team, it was going to be a difficult round. In the end, Citrus Valley won the round which in turn instilled confidence throughout the team.

It was then time for Citrus Valley to take on Apple Valley’s prosecution. In spite of this being Citrus Valley’s first time as defense, their expert witness getting impeached, and new members performing difficult roles for the first time, they were able to win another round.

With a two-match winning streak, Citrus Valley knew that the team needed a win against Arrowhead Christian Academy’s defense in order to continue this streak. This was the round that the team had rearranged witness order, had created new personalities for their witnesses, and had added new information to their lines of questioning. Along with extra lunch and after-school practices, Citrus Valley’s prosecution was able to earn yet another win.

The fourth round was to determine whether or not the team earned a place in the top four in San Bernardino County. Though Citrus Valley’s defense always performs well, changes were made in hopes of bettering the team only a week before the round. Rhiannon Scray took on a new attorney role, Jessica Lopez now needed to serve as a witness, and Madeleine Thomson stepped in to act as the defendant. Even with these sudden changes, the team performed exceptionally, earning them a place in the semifinals.  

On December 5 and 6, Citrus Valley took on Los Osos high school, while Redlands High took on Redlands East Valley. With two intense rounds, it was decided that the county finalists were Redlands High and Los Osos.

Though the group underwent a marginal loss to Los Osos High School, this team unquestionably deserves to be considered one of the best teams in the county. Citrus Valley will be losing strong seniors next season; however the incredible coaching and camaraderie will remain and be evident in the courtroom next season.

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