On to Nationals: Senior Mock Trial Team Wins State
Jesuit’s mock trial team, consisting of six seniors with three seasoned attorneys, won the 2018 Richard N. Ware IV State High School Mock Trial Competition on Saturday, March 10. The senior team outlasted two regional championship teams, Caddo Magnet and West Feliciana, in order to reach the finals against another regional champ in Haynes Academy. Just two weeks ago Haynes defeated Jesuit in the regional finals at the same courthouse that hosted state, the 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna, La.
The six seniors advancing to nationals are Nick Leonik, Christian Lacoste, Gabe Dupuy, Ethan Erhardt, Manuel Molina, and Nathan Alvarez. Molina won Best Attorney at state, and Leonik was named Best Witness.
For Jesuit, the first round was as defense against last year’s champion, Caddo Magnet. Head mock trial coach Brett Wise ’82 explained the crucial first round victory in detail, saying:
“Each of the trials was very different and each challenging in its own right, but Caddo was an excellent team, I strongly suspect that had we not taken them out in round one, they would have been state champs again. There was a lot riding on that round, and the team did a great job.”
The second trial was on the prosecution side against West Feliciana. Molina, Alvarez, and Lacoste—the three Blue Jay attorneys who all joined the team in 8th grade—proved their experience by keeping their witnesses in check. According to Coach Wise, Molina showed great adaptability in his closing argument.
Jesuit faced Haynes for the third round finals in a rematch of the regional competition. At regionals, Jesuit’s defense was its weaker case. The Jays lost the coin toss in the state finals, so Haynes again chose prosecution. Jesuit’s hard work and improvement in the two weeks before state finally payed off, and the finals the coaches considered the defense to be the team’s strongest case.
“It was a tough, hard-fought competition, and everyone did extremely well,” Coach Wise stated.
The National case problem will be released on April 1, and the team has one month to prepare a case that is typically more complex than the state problem. The National tournament will take place in Reno, Nev., from May 10-12.
This year’s team is the first group to reach nationals since 2014. Congratulations to the 2018 Jesuit Mock Trial team!