The Verdict: A Great Season!

After two wins from both the Plaintiff and the Defense side; the Hopatcong High School Mock Trial team concluded its season on January 22nd with a close loss to Kittatinny. Working extremely hard to get to where they were this season, the team enjoyed one of their most successful years.

Mock Trial team is split into two teams, the Plaintiff and the Defense. The case this year related to the death of a show dog, and the owner suing the pet product company that was believed to kill the dog. The competition was originally scheduled for late December, but it was pushed back due to Hurricane Sandy. During this time; however, the Hopatcong team lost about 2 weeks of practice. Because of this, when school was back in session, they ended up practicing 2-3 times a week, including Saturdays. After all the practices, the competition was set to begin, and the Plaintiff was first up.

The Plaintiff consists of the Lawyers, seniors Noel Diez and Courtney Wiseman, and the Witness’s, Melissa Valle, Laura Willis, and James Vilardo. They put up a strong case against Vernon’s Defense and came home with the win. Next up was the Defense side for Hopatcong.

The Defense contains Lawyers, Alex Lekhtman and Janine Munoz and Witnesses, Jake Parisi, Andre Tan and Mike Kelly. They dominated Wallkill Valley’s Plaintiff or as Mr. Donald P. Hogan, esq. the Lawyer Supervisor would say, “they buried ’em”. At the end, Hopatcong’s Defense came up with another win; a win that would send Hopatcong into the next round of competition.

This next round would see Hopatcong’s Plaintiff against Kittatinny’s Defense. After a well fought case, the judges gave the win to the Defense. But not before the judge said, “The side that won only won by a few points.” Even after the match was over, the judge told the coach, Mrs. Heather Delbagno, how close it actually was.

Delbagno, who has now been the coach of Hopatcong’s Mock Trial team for 10 years, coaches the team with the assistance of Lawyer supervisor, Mr. Hogan. When Delbagno was asked how she thought the season went, she replied, “I’m very proud of the team. They did a tremendous job. This is the second time in my 10 years of coaching that we have been to the finals”.

When asked about next year, since the majority of the team is seniors, she said, “I’m sad to see the seniors go, but I’m encouraged that there is a lot of talent from the underclassmen on the team.”

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