A scoring glitch will send Tracy High School and West High School mock trial teams back to the courtroom Monday to battle for the county title, which the Tracy High team thought they already had fairly captured.
After the winners of the county competition were announced two weeks ago, San Joaquin County Office of Education employees recalculated the scores by hand, as they normally do, education office spokeswoman Jacqueline Montelongo said.
They found that in a trial between Ripon Christian High School’s prosecuting team and West High’s defense team, West High’s score read 140 points out of 210 instead of 188 out of 210. The error vaulted Ripon Christian to compete against Tracy High in the final trial.
“In the spirit of mock trial, we want to do what’s right and fair,” Montelongo said.
County office administrators’ efforts to send both teams to the state competition in Oakland on March 24 were undone by mock trial policy. Both West High and Tracy High’s defense and prosecuting teams will compete in the playoff trial.
“We really did a great job in the competition, and we didn’t understand why we didn’t make it to finals,” West junior Jean Dellabona said. “We just accepted it.”
After two weeks off, the West High team says there’s no question that they will be prepared for state.
“What makes our team good is the chemistry among us,” West senior Raman Deol said. “We didn’t lose that, and now we have just enough time to brush up and do it all over again.”
Meanwhile, daily practices at Tracy High have been redirected from the state competition back to county.
“Everyone in the room was stunned,” Tracy High coach Megan Farley said of her meeting with SJCOE administrators. “Now, we need to prove that we are truly the best team.”
Each trial is scored by two volunteers who have experience in the legal system, Montelongo said. The county office plans to update its scoring system before next year’s mock trial. The county mock trial has used a computer program for 17 years to add up each of the team’s scores.
West High’s team won last year’s county mock trial competition, and Tracy High School won in 2005.
To contact reporter Danielle MacMurchy, call 830-4221 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.