They’ve been perfect through four challenging courtroom battles and now the Huntington High School mock trial team will face one of Suffolk’s best in the county’s Elite Eight round this week.
Huntington will square-off against East Islip at the Cohalan Court Complex in Central Islip. Both teams are 4-0 and each boasts skilled courtroom performers. The Blue Devils edged West Babylon in the Sweet Sixteen round while the Redmen moved past Mattituck.
Legal advisors Xavier Palacios and Jack Piana and faculty advisors Sarah Buchalter and Suzie Biagi have been working with an exceptional group of teenagers. Team members have been practicing long hours in anticipation of this week’s trial. Huntington will present the defense’s case in the trial while East Islip will handle the prosecution.
In last week’s match against West Babylon, the Blue Devils represented the people. “We had an all-star set of witnesses and attorneys that proved once again we are fierce competitors in this year’s tournament,” Ms. Buchalter said. “Senior Melissa Lopez put on another fantastic performance. The other witnesses played by Rory Boccelli and Ana Diaz also put forth a great show and were quick on their feet when being cross examined. Attorneys Alyssa Befumo, Max Robins and Lia Schecter commanded the courtroom. They truly look and sound like real attorneys and have grown so much throughout the competition.”
Ms. Schecter, an impressive sophomore, thrived in her first competition at the CI courthouse. “As the prosecutor charged with delivering the opening statement, she did a solid job,” Mr. Palacios said. “The judge described prosecution attorney Alyssa Befumo as a ‘scary cross examiner’ for her aggressive and impactful performance. Max Robins is beyond his years. If law schools could draft students straight out of high school he would be a top prospect.”
The entire Huntington trial team has developed into a force to be reckoned with. They will all have to be on their respective game to topple East Islip, which is equally talented. But the Blue Devils have shown time after time that only the foolhardy would underestimate them.
The winner of the Huntington vs. East Islip match will advance to the Suffolk Final Four round where it will face the winner of the Elite Eight battle between Hampton Bay and William Floyd. On the other side of the bracket, Ward Melville will tangle with Stony Brook and Harborfields and John H. Glenn will collide this week.