Mock Trial takes 7th place in national competition

After winning the state championship earlier this year, Margot Ross '24, Xavier Warren '24, Caroline Quinones '24, Benjamin Kampine '24, Bronson Schmidt '25, Erin Joyce '25, Ophelia Cherry-Pulay '25, and Henry Gatto '25, took home seventh place the national Mock Trial competition.
By Wilson Hubbell, Mock Trial Faculty Adviser & High School Science Teacher

This thing is far more grandiose and niche than you could possibly imagine. The team that won the state tournament in nearly every state of the USA gathered to compete against one another.

How did our team of eight students fare? They impressed me at every turn.

We arrived after midnight on Tuesday, April 30 (or was it Wednesday, May 1? Midnight is confusing) in the not-so-great state of Delaware. The state is just fine; however, its size is notably small, as is our trophy.

But seventh in the nation is nothing to shake a stick at. It was hard-earned. 

Before getting started, we met folks from the Hawai'i team (where former USN Director Vince Durnan was Interim Head of School), Guam, and Colorado at the hotel. If you ever feel shy, just bring Henry Gatto '25 along.

On Wednesday, May 1, we had two scrimmages to help us gauge how serious this was going to be: Nebraska in the morning (our favorite team, which finished 12th overall) and Utah (which finished 17th) in the afternoon.

We had two scrimmages on Thursday, May 2: Idaho in the morning and Washington (perennially great but finished 16th this year) in the afternoon. This last one was at a downtown Wilmington law firm. It was very fancy.

After these scrimmages, we knew we were supposed to be here. It was time for the real show.

On Friday morning, we faced off against Connecticut. We were sloppy but were still way better.

On Friday afternoon, we faced Pennsylvania. If you are not a geography buff, Pennsylvania is very close to Delaware. They brought many fans, and the team was very, very good. The trial was incredibly competitive, and I thought we had the edge, but my biases were showing.

Not knowing if we won or lost (because mock trial competitions are very strange), our students went over everything in great detail that evening.

On Saturday, May 4 we performed the best pseudo-law I have ever witnessed. We quite obviously took down Alabama in the morning and Wisconsin in the afternoon. 

What did we learn?

At the evening gala, we discovered that:
  • We got seventh place in the entire nation.
  • The team that won the tournament was Pennsylvania (if you remember, this was the team that beat us in the second round), who told us we were the hardest team they faced in the tournament.
  • That Margot Ross '24 was named one of the top 10 attorneys in the national tournament. They do not rank these; they just name the 10 best. If they did rank them, she would have been in the top 3. This is based on nothing except how awesome Margot is.
And now we are all very, very tired. And safe. And back in Nashville.

Thanks for all your love and support.

USN parent Maureen Timony was incredibly helpful in innumerous ways. But she is also a parent and already understands how neat these kids are.

The best part for me was seeing our lawyer coaches, Ben Raybin '03 and Ned Hildebrand '06, who are alumni (and also parents of little children), completely elated with our crew in a foreign land (Delaware), and, with their faces aglow, declaring that these kids and this performance are the kind of thing with which we should be promoting the school. This is why they want their children to go to USN. Everyone agreed that I was OK.

The team was comprised of these eight students: Margot Ross '24, Xavier Warren '24, Caroline Quinones '24
Benjamin Kampine '24, Bronson Schmidt '25, Erin Joyce '25, Ophelia Cherry-Pulay '25, and Henry Gatto '25.


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University School of Nashville models the best educational practices. In an environment that represents the cultural and ethnic composition of Metropolitan Nashville, USN fosters each student’s intellectual, artistic, and athletic potential, valuing and inspiring integrity, creative expression, a love of learning, and the pursuit of excellence.