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Mock Trial competition underway in Madison for high school teams


MADISON, WI (WXPR) -  While the boys basketball tournament is getting the headlines, another tournament is going on in Madison this weekend, one that Rhinelander high school students have dominated in the competition's three-decade history.

Rhinelander is one of 12 teams competing at the 30th annual Mock Trial competition Sunday at the Dane County Courthouse. Mock Trial provides high schoolers a chance to be attorneys and witnesses in a simulated court case developed by State Bar of Wisconsin members. This year's question centers on a fictional case where two students don't get along and there's a shooting. One student says it's the other student, and the suspect says it's a case of mistaken identity. Teams argue the case before a panel of legal veterans.

Long-time Rhinelander coach Kathy Vick-Martini says Rhinelander's team is experienced.  "I have seven people on the varsity team, and five of them are seniors and two are juniors.  The least amount of experience that anyone has is three years."

Vick-Martini says defending state champ Appleton Xavier returns but thinks D.C. Everest has a strong team.  Rhinelander does have a history of success.  "In the past 29 years of competition, we have won the State Tournament 15 times and we've come in second 5 times.  In those 26 years previous to this year, we were in the finals 20 of the 26 years."

Rhinelander won the national title in 1989 and finished second in 2004. Other Rhinelander coaches are attorney Jim Jacobi(jah-coh-bee) and Oneida County Circuit Judge Michael Bloom.

The preliminary competition is Sunday. The top two teams will compete before the State Supreme Co