Huntington's mock trial team is the defending Suffolk County champions
Huntington's mock trial team is the defending Suffolk County champions 

Blue Devil Courtroom Wizards Ready for Title Defense

January 10, 2024

The Blue Devil mock trial team has been spending long hours preparing for the season, which officially gets underway at John H. Glenn on February 7. Huntington is defending the Suffolk title it won last spring.

Local attorney and Huntington High School alum Xavier Palacios is the team’s volunteer legal advisor. He’s been devoting an enormous amount of time to reviewing this year’s case, developing strategies for the plaintiff and defendant sides and sharpening the overall skills of the attorneys and witnesses.

Huntington UFSD business teachers Suzi Biagi and Bryan Outsen are the team’s faculty advisors. “In this educational program, co-sponsored by the New York Bar Foundation, high school students have the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of civil/criminal law and courtroom procedures,” according to the organization’s website. “Thousands of students participate each year from all around New York State.”

Huntington’s mock trial club is led by juniors Isabella Careccia-Johnson and Nina Fascilla, who are serving as this year’s co-presidents. Junior Elizabeth James is the secretary and public relations coordinator.

“The team is looking really great so far and our case is coming together very well,” Ms. Fascilla said. “We’ve been focusing on completing all of our material in order to prep our witnesses with their direct examinations and practice as a full team. Everything that goes on behind the scenes to get us ready for competition season is probably the most time consuming part of the year. Ms. Biagi, Mr. Outsen and Mr. Palacios have spent such a generous amount of time to help the team prepare. Everyone has been pitching in and putting in the work to learn their part and practice the law. There is an immense amount of research, analysis, collaboration, and writing that goes into establishing our case for both prosecution and defense but we’re managing it well.”

The Blue Devil legal squad is shaping up nicely. “There are many promising newcomers and a full roster of returners so we’re in a really good place going into our first competition next month,” Ms. Fascilla said. “The team chemistry is great and I’m so grateful to be a part of such a talented group of my peers. This year, it’s been such a rewarding experience to lead the team I love so much and I am very confident that we are going to have a successful season.”

The regular season will feature four matches followed by playoff rounds, beginning with the Sweet 16. Huntington topped Northport in last year’s Suffolk final and placed third in the state finals.

“Our mock trial team has been excitedly preparing for our upcoming season,” Ms. Careccia-Johnson said. “Everyone, including attorneys, witnesses, coaches and attorney advisers have demonstrated incredible tenacity, dedicating multiple days a week towards practices. During our sessions, we write, edit and recite our material to better equip us for competition. I am really proud of our combined efforts, and remain devoted to making this season our best one yet.”

The regular season lineup and assigned side of the case is as follows:

Week 1 – February 7 Away at John Glenn (Defense)

Week 2 – February 14 Home vs. West Islip (People)

Week 3 – February 28 Home vs. Miller Place (Defense)

Week 4 – March 6 Away at Southampton (People)

“This year looks very bright,” Ms. James said. “With so many newcomers and returning members, I feel we are coming back with a very strong attorney and witness bench. This year, we have a criminal case, which is my personal favorite. We are finishing up writing material and are in the works memorizing it. Our first competition is about a month away. I’m confident that as a team we are going to do very well.”