Excerpted from a Suffolk Journal article by David Frederick, November 20, 2013

The Suffolk University Mock Trial Team, or SUMTT, is winning tournaments and individual awards as it competes at the top level in weekend invitational tournaments for the first time since its founding in 2006.

SUMTT President Ben Chertok earned a perfect score on his prosecution and a near-perfect score on defense at the season’s first tournament. He was honored with the prestigious Most Outstanding Attorney award as SUMTT won first place overall at the University of New Hampshire event.

'Dream team'

Suffolk University mock trial team members with trophies from fall 2013“We were probably the underdogs, but everyone worked hard and it paid off ... sort of a classic dream team story,” said sophomore Jonah Strassler, a witness for the team.

Chertok won another Most Outstanding Attorney award in the second tournament at Brandeis University, with a perfect ranking on defense.

“Since middle school I have loved mock trial, more and more each year. Through my ten years I've never seen a team grow at such a rapid rate," said Chertok. "It’s amazing to me that just a couple weeks ago these kids didn't even know what mock trial was, and now after tireless hours of dedication and hard work, they're on their way to becoming such powerful litigators.”

Team wins two of three fall tournaments

SUMTT finished in first place in the final fall tournament at Tufts University. Suffolk sophomore Elainy Mata, a witness and the assistant to the president, brought home the Most Outstanding Witness award. And Chertok again received Most Outstanding Attorney, earning a near-perfect score on prosecution.

“The way that the season has gone, it has definitely exceeded my expectations of how much we thought we would achieve to what we actually did achieve," said Mata.

Freshman Trenton Barnard, who is the second chair prosecution attorney, said that the tournament judges recognized the talent and dedication of the team and that the trial team experience has been “a confirmation of my career pathway.”

SUMTT competed against schools including Amherst, Brandeis, Boston College, Boston University, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Fordham, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, University of New Hampshire, Tufts, Wellesley and Yale.

Pride and determination

“Our hard work paid off and I'm proud of my teammates,” said sophomore Annemarie Mance, a SUMTT witness.

“We're just getting started,” said freshman Arefin Mohiuddin, SUMTT’s third-chair defense attorney. "SUMTT … not only managed to create personal success, they were the definition of perfect ambassadors for Suffolk.”

“I am so proud of everyone on my competitive team... and thankful for a fantastic fall semester, and excited for what is going to be a truly spectacular remainder of the 2013-2014 mock trial year,” said Chertok