On Feb. 26 at the Connecticut State Supreme Court, the Trumbull High School Mock Trial accomplished a feat that has happened only once before in the history of the 38-year state competition \u2014 they repeated as State Champions. Mock Trial is an academic competition that pits high school students against one another inside a courtroom, playing out a legal drama. The Connecticut Mock Trial Program started in 1976 and includes over 50 high schools annually. In front of three presiding Connecticut Supreme Court Justices, the Trumbull Mock Trial Team became the first team to win back-to-back championships in 31 years when they beat rival Weston High School. \u201cI can\u2019t emphasize how unbelievable these kids were,\u201d said Eric August, a Trumbull High School Teacher and the team\u2019s head coach. \u201cWeston is a tough opponent and I knew we would have to be at our best to win. We were.\u201d \u201cWhen they announced that we had won, it was an incredible feeling,\u201d he said. \u201cWinning one state championship is difficult enough, but back-to-back is unbelievable.\u201d Mock trial is an extracurricular academic competition that high schools, universities and law schools world-wide to educate students about a country\u2019s legal system. This year\u2019s case was about a train crash the resulted in the death of a 17 year-old boy. The students in the competition were tasked with preparing cases for both the plaintiff side and the defense side. After analyzing the case, students prepare direct and cross examinations of character and expert witnesses, prepare evidentiary arguments and develop opening and closing statestatements. Additionally, students who play the witness roles must be prepared take on a myriad of different characters. This year\u2019s case involved a grieving parent, an eye-witness best friend, as well as a train engineer and an 18-year veteran of the National Transportation and Safety Administration who served as the cases only true expert. Back-to-back championships do not come without a price to pay. \u201cI have never worked harder for anything else in my life,\u201d said Gabby Buttress, one of the team\u2019s senior members. \u201cAs a team we spent nearly two hours a day preparing, sometimes even more.\u201d The hard worked paid off for Trumbull and also for Buttress, who was awarded the Most Outstanding Mocker Award by Senior Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court Christine Vertefeuille. The Trumbull High School team is made up of six seniors and three juniors. \u201cMe and my teammates have a bond that a lot of other teams don\u2019t have,\u201d Senior Ashley Hallstrom said. \u201cWe may butt heads every once in a while but we are always there for each other when we need to be. I wouldn\u2019t have wanted to win a state championship with any other team.\u201d August praised the team Captain Dante Esposito. \u201cDante is one of those students who is not going to accept anything less than people\u2019s best.,\u201d August said. \u201cHe is a born leader and a student who comes along only once in a great while. I must admit, I am glad that Dante is only a junior, I have the luxury of having him for one more year.\u201d Esposito praised their advisor for building the team into state championship contenders. The team now moves onto the National Championship to be held in Madison, Wisconsin from May 8 through the 11. Trumbull is poised to improve on last year\u2019s performance. \u201cWe finished 27th last year and that did not sit well with many of us in the program,\u201d said August. \u201cYes. it was the best finish by a Connecticut team ever but that is not who we are. We want better and I have no doubts that we are going to do better because we are going there with a little more experience and a little more fire.\u201d The team members are Mark Ambrose, Gabby Buttress, Christian DeGenova, Captain Dante Esposito, Ashley Hallstrom, Jayla Perez, Cameron Perrelli, Ross Pellenberg and Anneliese Segarra.