Seniors win Maryland High School Moot Court Competition


Photo courtesy of Holly Dixon

Seniors Caleb Olsen and Grace Mottley pose with the judges from the final round of the Moot Court competition at the University of Baltimore Law School on Dec. 3. Olsen and Mottley won the Maryland High School Moot Court Competition by only one point and were named Moot Court Champions.

Seniors Grace Mottley and Caleb Olsen placed first in the Moot Court competition hosted at the University of Baltimore School of Law on Dec. 3. The team beat Franklin High School in the final round by one point.

“I was impressed with the performance of the team. It got a little nail biter during the semi finals, but they showed what they’re made of during the finals,” assistant coach Robert Dannenfelser said.

Moot Court is an annual competition hosted by the Citizenship Law Related Education Program, also known as CLREP. According to the competition’s website, students are given the opportunity to argue whether or not an issue is constitutional in a simulated appellate-level hearing.

This year, 11 teams, including the reigning champion Franklin High and Notre Dame Academy, competed in the competition. All teams are given the opportunity to argue as the petitioner and the respondent before the elimination rounds begin. The top-scoring eight teams move onto the quarterfinals. Four teams then move into the semifinals where they compete in another competition to decide who will go to the championship.

While Mottley and Olsen are the only seniors on the team, the JV team, which consists of junior Drew Forthman and sophomores Jacob Schmidt and Holly Dixon, competed in the same competition but did not make it to quarterfinals.

“I was not expecting to get past the third round. Because it was our first time, I thought we weren’t as experienced as our other competitors,” Olsen said. However, according to Olsen, he is happy that all his efforts paid off and feels like a weight has been lifted off of his shoulders.

Over the course of the last month, Mottley and Olsen worked hard to prepare for the competition and had double the amount of practices the week before. “We prepared by diligently studying previous Supreme Court decisions and by practicing our speeches and working with our amazing coach Mr. Connolly to practice answering the judges’ questions,” Mottley said.

The team practiced and prepared, but they weren’t expecting to win the entire competition. When it got down to the final round, the team was confident in their performance but was nervous about the final outcome.

“In the final round, the judges sent us out of the courtroom to deliberate on the score and the final decision. I was shaking the whole time while we waited. They gave us a lot of comments and pointers before telling us who won,” Mottley said. “I felt nauseous while they talked. I was squeezing Caleb’s hand so hard the whole time and I was so nervous, but we eventually won and it was such a great feeling.”

Caroline Cooney is the Editor in Chief of The Patriot and