They’ve won six consecutive matches and now Huntington High School’s mock trial team will try to capture the biggest prize of all when the Blue Devils square off against Ward Melville on Wednesday afternoon for the Suffolk championship.
Huntington won all three of its regular season contests and has so far been perfect in the playoff rounds. In its fourth year of existence, the Blue Devils have never before reached the county finals.
This year’s Suffolk tournament began with 27 teams and is now down to the final two. Huntington will argue the prosecution’s case in the championship round while Ward Melville has been assigned the defense.
Led by volunteer legal advisors Xavier Palacios, John LoTurco and Jack Piana and faculty advisors Sarah Buchalter and Suzie Biagi, the Huntington legal eagles have been exceptional against some very challenging foes. The team has been repeatedly complimented by the judges presiding over the weekly courtroom battles.
Team members are a remarkably impressive group. They’ve had to learn all the ins and outs of this year’s statewide case, mastering the legal and evidentiary elements of the prosecution and defense along with the strengths and weaknesses of the witnesses for both sides.
Huntington’s law wizards have sharpened their speaking and presentation skills, learned how to dress for success, grown comfortable with the language of lawyers and acquired more confidence as the wins started piling up. The group spends very long hours preparing for each of the matches.
The Blue Devils are in the midst of more than 20 hours of practice and rehearsals for the county championship match, which will play-out in the large ceremonial courtroom the federal US District Courthouse in Central Islip.
The finals matchup between Huntington and Ward Melville is open to the public. The trial begins at 2:45 p.m. sharp.
Huntington’s prosecution team for the county finals match includes:
1. John Panos
2. Alyssa Befumo
3. Max Robins
1. Melissa Lopez or Lena Annunziata as Lauren Smith
2. Riley Tucker or Rory Boccelli as Dr. Sidney Crosby
3. Joseph Mead as Officer Bobbie Jones
Attorney Lia Shecter and witnesses Claudia Villatoro, Isabella Floro and Ana Diaz have also competed for the Huntington team in matches and helped the Blue Devils win six straight contests without a loss this season.
“The team is preparing for our biggest competition yet,” Ms. Befumo said. “Everyone’s hard work and dedication is much appreciated. We can’t wait to give our best performance.”
The Blue Devils have defeated West Babylon, East Islip and William Floyd in the playoffs. Ward Melville has overcome Half Hollow Hills West, Stony Brook and John H. Glenn.
“So far the Huntington mock trial team is phenomenal,” Ms. Lopez said. “We have the best students to act as lawyers and witnesses and there has been a lot of time, energy and hard work put into each practice and in return we are now county finalists.”
Ward Melville reached the county finals last year, where it fell to 2017 Suffolk champ Bay Shore.