Two PTHS teams qualify for state mock trial

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The Port Townsend High School Mock Trial Team is sending both of its squads to the Washington State YMCA Mock Trial Competition in Olympia on March 24-26 at the Thurston County Courthouse.

This is Port Townsend’s 10th year qualifying for the state competition, and its first time sending two squads to state since 2014, said head coach Chris Pierson.

On Feb. 11, Port Townsend’s varsity (Black Squad) placed second at the South King County District competition to Bellevue, edging out the PTHS junior varsity (Red Squad, third place), Skyline High School of Issaquah, two teams from Mercer Island High School, and O’Dea High School.

Port Townsend’s Red Squad – which includes Sophie Benskin, Ally Bradley and Emillia Nunn – beat out four teams, some of them varsity squads. Freshman attorney Lilly Montgomery finished in a two-way tie for best attorney among all the competitors that day, with junior Maria Morrison tied for second with two votes.

Juniors Corinne Pierson and Benskin, and seniors Brennan LaBrie and An Nguyen (a first-time mock trial member) were all nominated for best attorney as well.

Seniors Jennifer Delong and Moon Dean were tied for first and second, respectively, for best witness, and seniors Sam Jasper and Helena Stafford were also nominated.

The team heads down to Olympia for the three-day state championships, where each squad competes in four rounds. Last year, Port Townsend’s varsity placed 10 out of 22 teams. Pierson believes that it can go even further this year.

“This year’s team is special and has a shot at making the championship round,” said Pierson in a press release.

“The more experienced Black Squad argues in court with professional demeanor, intelligence and grace. Our Red Squad is improving every practice as the students argue more rounds.”

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