A mock trial team of eight Ridgefield High School students \u2014 three witnesses, three lawyers, one who will be both, and a timekeeper \u2014 will be making their way to Hartford Thursday, May 11, to participate in the national competition for the first time in the team\u2019s 40-year history. The trial will have a jury of judges that will evaluate each team\u2019s performance \u2014 more than 50 high school mock trial teams from across the country will be competing. After winning semifinals and placing second during the state competition, the students started to get ready for the national case \u2014 a homicide similar to the Martha Moxley-Michael Skakel case in 1975. The students are all part of the A team, composed of the mockers with the highest abilities and experience out of the high school\u2019s three teams \u2014 A, B and C. The case All teams have to be prepared to defend both sides. In this instance, it\u2019s for Connecticut v. Wilbur \u2014 the case of college student Sigourney Porter, who was found lying dead in the bushes in \u201cAdrian\u2019s Landing\u201d near a Halloween party she had attended that night. Porter went to a prestigious institution on a scholarship and was surrounded by privileged and wealthy students. The prime suspect is Wilbur Merritt IV, a son of a powerful family. Merritt confesses to the crime during a ritual of a secret society, in the mock case called \u201cCloak and Daggers.\u201d \u201cThey replaced the names of Harvard and Yale and Skull and Bones with Cloak and Daggers,\u201d said team member Meredith Karle. For the past few weeks, the eight students have been preparing a defense and a prosecution. \u201cBasically we have to decide as a club \u2014 we get a lot of information,\u201d said co-president Karena Landler. \u201cOur task is to synthesize into a concrete case for both the state and the defense for Wilbur Merritt.\u201d Best mocker Sophomore Tarini Krishna will compete as a lawyer, a position that won her the \u201cbest mocker\u201d title in the state. Tarini started out as a witness when she first joined the B team, but the team\u2019s faculty adviser, Katherine Gabbay, saw something in the sophomore and switched her role to lawyer. Gabbay\u2019s instincts proved correct. \u201cI always found it very intriguing, learning about objections and case theory, and I always wanted to do an opening statement and closing statement one day,\u201d Tarini said. \u201cI wasn\u2019t too interested in character playing. It was more difficult for me, whereas a lawyer was more my personality.\u201d On the witness stand Meredith will be Tarini\u2019s witness. \u201cI really like being a witness because I\u2019m really into acting,\u201d she said. Tarini was promoted from the B team to the A team, after Meredith\u2019s original lawyer fell ill. The duo prepared their case together. Meredith will be playing the victim\u2019s best friend. \u201cIt\u2019s one of my favorite parts of mock trial, working with people,\u201d said Meredith. \u201cThe ability to compete intellectually is something that I really value.\u201d Getting ready Meredith, Tarini, and Karena, along with the rest of the team \u2014 Nicholas Baughman, Nicholas Patterson, Maxwell Cumming, Caledonia McQuilkin, Byron Sleight, and Sebastian Guccione \u2014 have been meeting with Gabbay three times a week in preparation for nationals. The week leading up to the competition is all about memorizing tiny details, and going over the case again and again. \u201cWe have all our game faces on, and we\u2019re making sure everything is perfect,\u201d Karena told The Press last week. Lawyers have to be ready to call out objections and question relevance when their witness is being cross-examined, and witnesses need to intimately know every aspect of the case and how to use it to their advantage \u2014 even if incriminating questions are posed by opposing lawyers. Each team gives the case its own spin. \u201cIt\u2019ll be interesting to see how every single team takes the case,\u201d said Tarini. \u201cSeeing how other people approach the exact same material is fascinating and a challenge you have to deal with if you\u2019re against them,\u201d Karena added.