Students display their knowledge of law in the Civics First Mock Trial competition


The Sacred Heart Mock Trial Team competes in the second part of the Civics First competition.

The Sacred Heart Greenwich Mock Trial team competed in the second round of the Civics First Mock Trial competition March 4.  Prior to the second round of competition, the Sacred Heart Plaintiff team defeated East Catholic High School’s Defense team January 28.  During the recent match, the Plaintiff side lost against Conrad High School while the Defense side won against Bethel High School.  Sophomore Catherine Ruf and freshman Annika Wise reflected on the value of Mock Trial.   

Senior Captains Angélique Wheeler and Mimi Lee, junior Molly Kriskey, sophomores Catherine Ruf and Lindsay Taylor, and freshman Emily Shull comprised the Plaintiff side.  Senior Leah Allen, junior Gabrielle Wheeler, sophomores Claire Maher, Clare Murray, Caroline Hartch, and Olivia Ritossa argued for the Defense side.  Sophomore Samantha Mecane served as the timekeeper for the Defense while senior Izzy Sciacca was the timekeeper for the Plaintiff.  

Catherine Ruf ’24, Emily Shull ’25, and Olivia Ritossa ’24 prepare for their case.  Courtesy of Caroline Hartch ’24

The Plaintiff case began at 10 a.m. and concluded at 1 p.m.  The Defense team competed from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.  In total, the competition lasted approximately eight hours.  COVID-19 restrictions precluded in-person competition.  Students competed virtually for both rounds of competition, gathering in the Athletic Center as opposed to a courtroom.  Catherine, a lawyer for the Plaintiff, remarked on the benefits of a virtual setting. 

“I have never competed in a formal courtroom like [participants in] the Civics First Competition usually [do], however, competing virtually this year and last year has been fun as you can work in a quiet room with your team and talk with each other about other ideas we may want to bring up later while the other team presents their case,” Catherine said.

Both teams analyzed the fictional case of Ms. Mia Rapinoe, an athlete, who contracted a concussion while playing soccer.  Before a doctor cleared Ms. Rapinoe, her coach pressured her to continue training.  Because of the failure to prioritize safety, Ms. Rapinoe and her mother are attempting to sue the soccer club for negligence. 

On the Plaintiff side, Lindsay won the third best attorney and Mimi won the second best witness.  For the Defense, Civics First recognized Caroline as best attorney, commended Leah as third best attorney, and designated Gabrielle as best witness.  Sophomore Catherine commented on how Mock Trial grants participants valuable experience in the legal field. 

Clare Murray ’24 and Claire Maher ’24 compete in the recent Mock Trial competition.  Courtesy of Caroline Hartch ’24

“It really does feel like you are a part of a working case and trial,” Catherine said.  “You have to create many questions to try and persuade the court to your side of the argument through photo evidence, objections, and through both the lawyers and witnesses working together to try and tell it.” 

Members of the Sacred Heart Mock Trial team began preparing for the competition in September with weekly practices.  Mr. Matthew Meyer, Upper School History Teacher and Mock Trial Coach, guides the team in their preparation.

The 2021-2022 season is Annika’s first time participating in Mock Trial.  Although she did not participate in the second round of the match, Annika described the connection she feels to her team.

“My favorite part of being on the team is definitely having teammates I can completely trust,” Annika said. “We all have each other’s backs in and out of the competition.  All of the members on the team grow so close to each other because of all the time we spend working together and helping each other out.  We learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses and help each other grow.”

Featured Image by Isabella Nardis ’24