For the third consecutive year, Mentor High School sent two teams to compete in the Mock Trial tournament Friday at Lake County Court of Common Pleas.
And, for the third year straight, both of their teams went undefeated and advanced to the regional competition in three weeks.
This is all the more impressive, considering only three teams in all of the field moved on. (Gilmour Academy also advanced.)
The Nifty Narwhals and Team Snollygoster -- it means "a clever, unscrupulous person" -- spent months studying case law to prepare for the competition.
They and 11 other teams from across the region argued at a suppression hearing in criminal case. The prosecutors contended a pair of admissions by a teenage murder suspect should be admitted while defense argued the admissions were coerced by an overly aggressive police officer who was operating outside of the law.
Members of the mock trial teams served as attorneys and witnesses in the trials. One school served as the plaintiff's side, while the other was the defendant. Teams competed once in the morning and once in the afternoon, and a team had to win both of their cases to move on to regionals.
And, while the case was fictional, the case law the students needed to memorize was all fact.
Jenna Grams, a prosecutor for the Nifty Narwhals, said the students had been practicing twice a week since the beginning of September.
"We go over and over case law, direct examinations, cross examinations, openings, closings until we get it perfect," she said
Rosa Gifford, a witness for the Narwhals, was elated when both teams advanced to regionals.
"It's amazing," she said. "We just put so much work into it."
Lake Catholic Team Veritas competed Friday, as well. They did not advance to regionals, though they made it to the state championship for two of the last five years.