Mock Trial team adapts to the temporary normal

Competing against other schools in a makeshift courtroom is difficult in itself. Adding a national pandemic brings a pile of new challenges, but by open-mindedly approaching it in the same way as taking a semester course in 18 days, it can be done and in a successful way. 

Mock Trial captain Maddie Huntzinger ’21.
Mock Trial captain Maddie Huntzinger ’21 says the team this year has been willing to try new things, adapt, and persevere. Photo by Paulina Diaz-Alton ’21

COVID-19 has not stopped Cornell’s Mock Trial team. It has allowed them to adapt and create new skills to become successful in an online courtroom. 

Rather than traveling to competitions around the country, team members sit in separate rooms, all by themselves, and open their laptops. The case at hand is the same case that all teams use throughout the season, a fictional case developed by The American Mock Trial Association. They are no longer able to quickly write notes to one another to communicate, and instead use technology, hoping the network will be strong enough and what others are saying appears quick enough on their shared document to be useful in their trial. 

“Because we are in the same building, we are able to mask up and meet in the hallways or lobby areas to chat during our breaks in the rounds. This gives us time to talk about what’s happening in the round and encourage each other. While in our rooms, our squads are using different ways to communicate, such as Groupme and Google Hangout Chats,” said Captain Maddie Huntzinger ’21.

“I think the hurdle of being online has been overcome just based on the willingness of our competitors and coaches. While it’s obviously not the same feeling as when we compete in person and get to travel across the country, our team has been willing to try new things, adapt, and persevere.” 

Relying on technology to get the job done, Cornell Mock Trial continues to work hard, have success, and keep everyone safe. This group of young adults may be digital natives, but they are ready to go back to the good old passing notes to one another and competing in person the old-fashioned way.