Rhinelander High School is once again the state champion in mock trial. The team competed before the state Supreme Court justices in Madison.
It’s the 17th time Rhinelander has won the state championship. But with one loss in the semifinals, Coach Kathy Vick-Martini says the final round against Shorewood High School was tense.
“So we knew going into the finals that Shorewood had defeated the team that had defeated us. And we were definitely the underdog.”
Vick-Martini says this year’s win was a surprise given the rookie status of all but two of the team members. But by the time the third witness had been called in the final round, things were going in Rhinelander’s favor.
“I turned to Judge Bloom and I said, we’re winning! And from that point on it was pretty clear to both of us that my gosh--we’re gonna take this!”
Rhinelander High School has won the state championship more times than all the other teams in the state combined. When asked about the secret to success, Vick-Martini says it comes from experienced coaches and dedicated students.
“And I think bottom line, our kids are just willing to work harder than anybody else. We meet every day after school, we meet every Sunday at the courthouse for a practice trial. The season starts at the beginning of the school year, and we’re still going.”
Judge Mike Bloom and Attorney Jim Jacobi have been helping coach the team for two decades, and Vick-Martini has been with the team for all 31 years.
Co-captain Amber Sheth was recognized as one of the five best student attorneys in the state. Freshman Ellie Rickman was named one of the five best student witnesses.
The team now heads to Nationals in May.