Ariana Elizalde took the stand this weekend and she proved herself to be an excellent witness for the defense.
Lakeside High School's Elizalde was competing in Saturday's 30th annual Riverside County Mock Trial competition sponsored by the Riverside County Office of Education, Riverside County Bar Association, and Riverside Superior Court.
Mock Trial involves students arguing cases in front of real judges and scored by real attorneys. More than 500 students from 26 high schools have participated in this year's competition that began Feb. 6.
This year students are arguing the case, People vs. Vega. Vega is charged with felony hit-and-run stemming from an accident.
The event is still ongoing, with an "Elite Eight" round of competition set to begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Riverside Hall of Justice. Teams set to compete, listed in prosecution versus defense order, include: Palm Desert High School vs. Great Oak High School; Murrieta Valley High School vs. King High School; Hemet High School vs. Temecula Valley High School; and Santiago High School vs. Poly High School.
The winning teams will then advance to the semi-final round, scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 2 at the Riverside Historic Courthouse.
This will be followed by a championship round at 1 p.m. and a final awards ceremony at 3:30 p.m.
The winning team will compete March 22-24 at the California State Mock Trial Competition to be held in Sacramento.
Along with the Elite Eight pairings, the Riverside County Office of Education announced this year's individual award recipients. These include:
Outstanding Bailiff: Josh Lapuz, Santiago High School
Outstanding Clerk: Alec Steele, La Quinta High School
Outstanding Defense Pretrial Motion Attorney: Howard Berkowitz, Palm Desert High School
Outstanding Prosecution Pretrial Motion Attorney: Nicole Calderone, La Quinta High School
Outstanding Prosecution Witnesses (characters they portrayed displayed in italics):
Officer Kelly Wright: Adam Chebahtah, Woodcrest Christian High School
Toni DeLuca: Megan Owens, King High School
Quinn Liu: Jake Phillips, Marywood Palm Valley
Cameron Douglas: Ana Carrera, Citrus Hill High School
Outstanding Defense Witnesses (characters they portrayed displayed in italics):
Defendant Adrian Vega: Caroline Olson, Xavier College Preparatory
Dallas Decamp: Ariana Elizalde, Lakeside High School
Aubrey Fox: Kristen Lem, Temecula Valley High School
Taylor Berard: Thomas Lee, King High School
Outstanding Prosecution Attorneys:
Hans Britsch, Great Oak High School
Lanae Harris-Pitts, Citrus Hill High School
Rachel Budd, Chaparral High School*
*Won a summer internship with the District Attorney’s Office
Outstanding Defense Attorneys:
LJ Valenzuela, Arlington High School
Miguel Romero, Indio High School
Misha Perinova, Poly High School*
*Won a summer internship with the Public Defender’s Office