Indian Hill Wins Sixth Title in 11 Years at State Mock Trial Championship
By Csaba Sukosd | March 12, 2019
It's been nearly 30 years since a professional team in Cincinnati has won a championship, but one Cincinnati area high school has created a dynasty over the past decade.
Indian Hill, a northeastern suburb of Cincinnati, has more Ohio High School Mock Trial finals victories in the last 11 years (six) than the rest of the state combined (five).
"It just feels very surreal," said Indian Hill student Sarah Kaplan, who was awarded as the event's most outstanding attorney. "My sister, she did mock trial all four years of her high school career, and watching her, basically, her Friday nights were school nights, and I swore to myself that I'd never do that to myself, but here I am four years later."
Indian Hill prevailed over another perennial power - Sylvania Southview - in a simulated trial before a panel of judges at the Ohio Statehouse last Saturday. The Toledo area school holds the most state titles (seven), including the 2018 crown.
"We had just run it so many times, and practiced and practiced, that we were comfortable with it," said Indian Hill student Sumner Colohan, who served as a witness during the finals.
The program - under the guidance of the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education - is the state's largest high school academic competition, with more than 3,000 students representing 179 high schools. The two-month tournament concluded with 29 of those teams coming to Columbus for the finals late last week.
The 36th annual event featured a case focusing on the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures as it applies to technology. In this scenario, the state was questioned regarding the use of drones to seek evidence after $120 million had been stolen from the state pension fund.
"Honestly, I'm relieved that we don't have to do this case anymore. As much as I love it, but it's been a long couple months," said Indian Hill student Cooper Pierce, who was named the tourney's top witness.
Even though the majority of participants aren't presently considering a future as an attorney, they do take away a lot of knowledge about the legal profession and other useful elements that will help them down their prospective paths.
"It's a huge confidence booster. I've got to meet a lot of people from around the country. We've been to national tournaments, obviously through state, and it's also great for public speaking," said Colohan.
"Work hard and just have fun. I think that's the biggest thing. You'll perform the best when you're having fun. No matter what you do, no matter what you suffer through, it's not going to be worth it if you're not having fun," added Albert Kwon, the other attorney for Indian Hill in the finals.
The 2019 state champs will represent Ohio at the National High School Mock Trial Championship in Athens, Georgia, May 16-18.