SEQUIM — Sequim High School’s Mock Trial team didn’t place, but it did bring back some hardware from the 2023 YMCA Mock Trial state championships in late March.
Competing in its first season, the Sequim team received the William Downing Values Award, an honor voted on by other teams and awarded to the team best exhibiting values of sportsmanship, respect and professionalism promoted through the YMCA Mock Trial mission.
The state competition, held March 26 at the Thurston County Courthouse in Olympia, featured 24 teams from high schools across the state.
The finalists featured 11 teams from King County and just Sequim from Clallam County. No Jefferson County teams were in the finals.
Seattle Prep High School’s Blue Team edged out Skyline High School’s Green Team to take the state title. Seattle Prep qualified to compete in the national championship in Little Rock, Ark., in May.
The teams of students competed as either prosecution or defense in the fictional criminal case of a fatal shooting after an incident of “swatting” — in which a person reports a fake emergency intending to get a SWAT team sent to a home or other location.
The Outstanding Attorney award for the tournament was presented to two students with tied votes: Addie Bradley from Cedar Tree Christian and Jason Kirkpatrick from King’s High School of Redmond.
The Outstanding Witness award for the tournament was also presented to two students with tie votes: Anaiysaa Deswal from Holy Names-Gray and Nathan Mehari from King’s High School-White.
For the championship round on Sunday, the Outstanding Attorney Award went to Kiné Yade from Seattle Prep-Blue, and the Outstanding Witness Award went to Raghav Pradhan from Skyline-Green.
“This is really, really impressive,” Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Lanese told the students at the championship trial after they had finished presenting their case. He praised their knowledge and composure in arguing the two sides of a complex case.
“In the courtroom, you try to develop comfort without arrogance, and you all walk that line perfectly. A lot of attorneys take years to develop that.”
Hundreds of volunteer attorneys and judicial officers across the state volunteer time to rate and judge high school teams competing in regional tournaments held throughout the school year and at the state finals.
The YMCA Mock Trial program began in 1987 and is part of the YMCA’s Youth & Government program that helps students experience democracy in action.
Mock Trial allows students to participate in true-to-life courtroom drama before real judges and attorneys, gaining an understanding of the law and the role of the judiciary.