More than a dozen Watertown-Mayer High School students appeared in Hennepin County Court this week, although the reason wasn’t nearly as ominous as it sounds.
In fact, the experience was actually quite a reward for those involved, and it’s quickly becoming something of an annual tradition for Watertown-Mayer’s mock trial team.
The school made its fourth consecutive appearance at the state mock trial competition this week after once again winning its regional championship over St. Michael-Albertville. The two-day event was held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Hennepin County Courthouse in downtown Minneapolis, where Watertown-Mayer was one of 12 schools of varying sizes from around the state vying for one state title.
Last year, the team finished in third place, and longtime coach Lori Sieling said the team’s recent trips to state have really fueled the team’s hunger to return year after year.
“Once we got that confidence that we can do it, now we know what we need to do,” Sieling said. “Once we went to state, we knew exactly what we had to do to get there again. The question was, did we have the students willing to put in the time. I’ve been lucky that we have.”
Sieling, who has coached the Watertown-Mayer program for more than 20 years, said her team has a strong history of success. Until recently, though, making it past the regional final was a tough test. Now, the program has become one of the school’s most successful and consistent teams.
“We have a good record of making it to the championship round of regions,” she said, “but until four years ago, we always lost. Now we’ve managed to do it four years in a row. I guess we’ve turned our luck a little bit.”
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