The Huntington mock trial team is ready for the county tournemant.
The Huntington mock trial team is ready for the county tournemant.

Blue Devils Win to Advance to County Elite Eight

March 18, 2024

As the bus carrying the Huntington High School mock trial team pulled into the parking lot of the county court complex in Central Islip, the Blue Devils were not only excited to be back in the Sweet 16 round of the Suffolk playoffs, but also eager to demonstrate to its Southampton foes a different face to its courtroom expertise.

The Huntington mock trial team at the Sweet 16 round match against Southampton.

It was an unusual pairing since the two teams had faced off in the final regular season contest. The match marked the first time in five years that Huntington had a contest in consecutive weeks against the same opponent.

The Blue Devil roster is packed with stars in every role. Volunteer legal advisor Xavier Palacios and faculty advisors Suzi Biagi and Bryan Outsen have developed the team into an imposing squad.

During a Sweet 16 round welcoming ceremony, all 16 teams sat in a large waiting room for courtroom assignment. The three week single elimination tournament is a test of both intellect and nerves. All eyes are on Huntington; the two-time defending Suffolk champions.

The Blue Devils’ witness team was led by junior Lindsay Depeine and it showcased freshmen Julia Goodwin and Nalelly Linares. After patiently waiting for the entire prosecution side to complete their arguments, the three witnesses were ready to take their turn.

Ms. Linares was able to hold her own against Southampton’s well-versed attorney, maintaining her composure and controlling the pace of questioning.

Ms. Goodwin was a worthy opponent for Southampton’s veteran lead attorney, doing a more than creditable job while not conceding damaging faces and maintaining her position during a tough examination.

Finally, Ms. Depeine not only charmed the judge on her direct examination, but also calmly and confidently dominated her cross examination against yet another impressive attorney from the East End.

Freshman Eli Levi and juniors Elizabeth James and Isabella Careccia-Johnson served as Huntington’s defense attorneys and were able to demonstrate not just a mastering of the law, but also dominated in performance as well.

Ms. James followed up Southampton’s solid opening statement with her best delivery to date, mesmerizing not just the spectators and opposing teams, but also the judge. From that moment on, Huntington never let up.

Mr. Levi battled the toughest witness to date in his young career and tirelessly fought to get enough out of the disgruntled ex-employee to showcase the bias the Blue Devils needed to make their case.

Ms. Careccia-Johnson closed out the Sweet 16 courtroom showdown with a classic closing statement that left most in the audience, including Huntington UFSD Superintendent Christian Bowen speechless.

In the end, Suffolk District Court Judge Mary Kate Mullen found for Huntington High School’s side in the case, moving the Blue Devils into the Elite Eight round of the county playoffs on Wednesday (March 20) against tenth seeded Newfield at the Central Islip court complex.