Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women’s Mock Trial Team was recently crowned the 2017 Monroe County Mock Trial Sectional Champions. The all-girls team defeated the competition from Hilton, Brockport, Brighton and McQuaid. Mercy’s recent win occurred in a courtroom at the Kenneth B. Keating Federal Building on State Street in downtown Rochester. “Mock Trial is an amazing experience; my peers and I are able to apply real life critical thinking and public speaking skills,” said Mercy senior Carlie Clarcq, who serves as a witness on the team. “The opportunity to stand in front of students and faculty and advocate for the protection of liberty is wonderful. I am so proud of all the hard work my team has put into this season.” Mercy’s Mock Trial team includes President Jacqueline Napier and Vice President Tara Powell, along with Madeleine Bianchi, Carlie Clarcq, Caroline Dejoy, Carly Fanning, Anika Fischer, Lindsey Green, Candice Pinniam, Megan Reilly, Gabrielle Schlehr and Erin Taffe. The team spends about five hours together each week planning their legal strategies. Several of the girls are interested in pursuing a degree in law. The team travels to the 2017 Region 1 Competition in Buffalo at the end of April to compete for the title of regional champion. “These students work very well together as a team. They have great energy, impressive poise and contagious enthusiasm,” said Mercy educator Alisa Belanger. “I’ve been quite lucky to come in and work right away with such a strong group of young women intent on learning from this experience and constantly striving for excellence.” Belanger attributes much of the team’s success to the work of their previous coach, Mercy Principal Terry Quinn, who has continued to encourage them and follow their progress closely throughout this season. The attorney-in-charge of the Rochester Branch Office of the U.S. Attorney’s office Richard A. Resnick provided early support, which was essential in building the students’ case, said Belanger. Resnick helped the girls understand the basic legal issues at stake and helped the girls craft strong lines of questioning for the witnesses. In addition, the team also thanked Raymond Ruhlmann and Jacob Richard. Ruhlmann, the McQuaid Jesuit team coach, offered a scrimmage with his team and offered suggestions in advance of Mercy’s round against Brighton High School in the semifinals. Jacob Richard, of the Monroe County District Attorney’s office, also provided advice.