Clarence High School Mock Trial Team Finds Strength in Legacy

By Jennifer Andrus

May 16, 2024

Clarence High School Mock Trial Team Finds Strength in Legacy


By Jennifer Andrus

Postseason competition in Mock Trial is nothing new for the Clarence High School team in suburban Buffalo. The team this year bested a crowded field of more than two dozen schools from Western New York to take the Region I title. They beat out last year’s Region I champ Frewsburg High School in Chautauqua County. Clarence has performed at the state level several times and won the state title in 2015.

Longtime coach Ron DiNicolantonio credits the team’s success this year with a fierce determination and top-notch attorney coaching staff which includes two former students.

“I’ve had the privilege to coach the team for the past 30 years at Clarence, and to the right of me are two former mock trial students,” he said. “After graduating law school and starting to practice, they returned to Clarence to start giving back by coaching.”

“Mock Trial in high school was an invaluable experience that helped me both going through undergrad and law school. It’s really come full circle for me, being able to come back and help out this next generation of students,” said attorney coach Mitch Snyder. “Getting to see them work extremely hard and make it to the State Championship this year, it’s been really exciting for us. We’re so immensely proud of everything they do.”

The power of legacy is not lost on the 2024 team. They are working hard to understand different regional styles of competition and watching tapes of previous mock trial state finals.

“We are constantly reworking things to best suit the chemistry of our team,” said senior Lilly Post. “We have a pretty senior team this year, so we’ve all worked together for years, and we just really have that chemistry. You can see it when we compete.”

“It feels really good to have won county finals and then go to regionals. We had a lot of fun competing, and all the work and time we put in has just really paid off. This year has definitely been a learning curve and I don’t think that learning is going to stop once we get to Albany,” said senior Emily Kist.

Sophomore Madeline Heckman agrees and is looking forward to testing her skills against the best teams in New York.

“I am excited to have a super competitive session, something that really tests us to see all of our hard work come to fruition.”


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