Mainland Mock Trial team

Mainland Regional High School’s Mock Trial team. From left: Peyton Bortner (junior), Andrea Boyce (junior), Valerie Speirs (senior), Georgia Ridgway (senior, back), Jessica Caampued (senior, front), Luke McSorley (sophomore), Madison Smith (junior, back), Nicole Faragher (sophomore, front), Regan Stillman (sophomore), Maya Berg (sophomore) and Christopher Fernandez (adviser).

Mainland Regional High School took home second place Thursday at the New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s 37th mock trial competition.

Mainland, a perennial local champion, was defeated by Colts Neck High School of Monmouth County, at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick.

“It was a great year. This is an amazing team,” said Mainland’s mock trial adviser Christopher Fernandez. “I think more than maybe any other year, these guys really work as a team.”

Fernandez said the team started the year with a goal of getting back to the state championship and to win.

“I’m just incredibly proud of them. It’s sad to see it’s over, and we didn’t get over that hurdle, but they have nothing to be ashamed of and everything to be proud of,” he said.

This was Mainland’s eighth year in a row winning the Atlantic County Mock Trial competition and the second consecutive year the team made it to the finals, where it placed second last year as well.

The school won the state title for a third time in 2015.

Both Mainland and Colts Neck won their respective rounds in the state semifinals in March. The Newton High School team from Sussex County, which placed third in the state, was honored at the finals.

Fernandez, who has coached the mock trial team for 23 years, said every year he looks back at the event and finds areas to improve.

“I think if you don’t think you can always get better, you’ll just get worse. Complacency is not a way to maintain that top-level performance,” he said.

Colts Neck will represent New Jersey in the National High School Mock Trial Championship in Athens, Georgia, in May.

Since January, more than 200 high school teams throughout New Jersey have tried the fictitious case of Avery Mansion v. Captain Kidd’s Pier, which deals with a roller coaster accident.

The Vincent J. Apruzzese Mock Trial Competition is sponsored by the New Jersey State Bar Foundation in cooperation with the New Jersey State Bar Association and New Jersey’s county bar associations.

Contact: 609-272-7251 Twitter @clairelowe

Staff Writer

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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