Robins mock trial

Derrick Voss, A&E Writer

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Xavier students have plenty of opportunities to participate in activities that enhance their high school experience. One activity that may be overlooked is mock trial. Iowa High School Mock Trial began in 1983, and is a competition where students must comprehend a set of legal materials and present their arguments to judges at Regional and State tournaments. This years’ case is Kelly Crown V. Bryce Cutter d/b/a Charity Operations Network, which is a civil case involving counterfeit art purchased at a charity event.

Xavier High School has not had its own Mock Trial team since 2000, but Xavier students are able to participate in Robins Mock Trial, coached by Cedar Rapids attorney Tim Semelroth along with other volunteers. There are two teams, a JV and a varsity team. The team also has members from other schools in the Cedar Rapids area. They captured their last state championship in 2017 and competed at the national level.

Junior Zach Noonan has been participating in Mock Trial since 6th grade. Over his career, he has been a lawyer and witness, this year he is competing as a witness. During the season, he spends anywhere from seven to ten hours a week practicing for competitions.

“It gives me a competitive courtroom experience where I get to participate in an activity that pushes me and improves my critical thinking, memorization, public speaking, communication and overall life skills that I will need for the future,” Noonan said.

Semelroth’s daughter, Samantha, is a sophomore at Xavier. She has grown up around Mock Trial her entire life.

“Having a dad as a coach can be an advantage, because I’ve known the other coaches forever and I have been going to mock trial competitions for years, so I know the traditions. This especially helps me feel and act very comfortable during trial,” Semelroth said.

Although it is a large time commitment outside of school, the participants believe the rewards of Mock Trial are worth the time and effort.

“The public speaking and teamwork skills. The memories I have from the past four years of mock trial, it’s been a sometimes stressful but very rewarding experience,” Semelroth said.

The Robins team hopes to capture their fifth state championship in the past ten years come springtime.

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Robins mock trial