Mock Trial secures spot to state sixth year in a row


The varsity Mock Trial team strikes a pose inside the courtroom where they placed first in the competition in Eau Claire. Feb. 5, 2023.

By Lily Holmquist, Reporter

The varsity Mock Trial team placed first in the regional competition in Eau Claire, on Feb. 3-5, 2023. Coach Chayce Strauch led the team, along with Coach Heidi Gondik, both being SHS Mock Trial alums. The team will advance to the state competition in Madison, WI. on Mar. 4, 2023.

Strauch is in his second year of coaching and helping out the Mock Trial team, having also been a part of the team during all four years of high school. Over the years he has been a part of it, coaching has changed between three different people: Danielle Gondik, Donna Stubbe, and Heidi Gondik, who still helps Strauch with coaching. 

“We’re all one big Spartan Mock Trial team. It’s competitive but inclusive,” Strauch said. 

One challenge Strauch found during this year’s coaching was the fact that those participating on the team were friends of his. It was occasionally difficult for him to maintain the boundary between friend versus teacher, as he knew most of the people he was working with. Strauch says that Mock Trial sounds complex, but in all reality, the biggest challenge is working together as a close-knit team. 

“We win or lose as a team, it’s incredibly team oriented,” Strauch said. 

Two other competitors, senior Gwendolyn Hall and junior Claire Farnham, shared coach Strauch’s enjoyment of the competitions. Both of them have been on the Mock Trial team for the past three consecutive years, Hall having joined in her sophomore year and Farnham in her freshman year. 

“Anyone interested in law should join Mock Trial, it’s a good experience,” Hall said. 

The team as a whole is close, much like a friendship. It’s important to the team to not only form bonds, and trust between each other, but share a mutual respect for each other. 

“Mutual respect is what Mock Trial is really built on,” Strauch said. 

Farnham, who started freshman year, has found a lot of fun in Mock Trial. Not only with making friends, but by learning new skills. 

“Mock is good for learning theater skills, sometimes you need improv,” Farnham said. 

Farnham also stated that the close team dynamic in Mock Trial is very important to how the team is going to perform, a thought also shared by coach Strauch. 

According to coach Strauch, there will be a public performance of a Mock Trial case, planned to take place at the courthouse. It will be open to the public, and gives people a chance to see what Mock Trial is all about. The date of this event is yet to be determined.