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BHS mock trial team gives its best at state tournament

The Brainerd High School mock trial team gave its best shot this past weekend in the state tournament at the Stearns County Courthouse in St. Cloud. Brainerd competed against 12 mock trial teams, where all the teams participated in three separate...

The Brainerd High School mock trial team Zoey Heitkotter (front, left), Sayali Blowers, Mari Hermerding, Stefanie Maas, Alyssa Neistad (back, left), Jaden Wagoner, Oksana Goncharenko, Luke Norquist and Josiah Wood pose in the Stearns County Courthouse this past weekend during the state tournament.Submitted
The Brainerd High School mock trial team Zoey Heitkotter (front, left), Sayali Blowers, Mari Hermerding, Stefanie Maas, Alyssa Neistad (back, left), Jaden Wagoner, Oksana Goncharenko, Luke Norquist and Josiah Wood pose in the Stearns County Courthouse this past weekend during the state tournament. Submitted

The Brainerd High School mock trial team gave its best shot this past weekend in the state tournament at the Stearns County Courthouse in St. Cloud.

Brainerd competed against 12 mock trial teams, where all the teams participated in three separate trials with the top two winning teams competing in the championship trial.

BHS Mock Trial Coach Jan Carlson said Monday the team won one trial and lost two, which were close. Carlson said the trials are based on a 300-point scale and Brainerd was within 10 points of its competition.

"The team performed really well and the scores were close," Carlson said. "The kids poured their hearts into the competition and you can't ask for more. We also had great support from their parents making the trip to watch.

"In our third trial the presiding judge was David Lillehaug who is on the Minnesota Supreme Court."

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Carlson said all nine students on the team are new to mock trial with the exception to one student, BHS senior Stefanie Maas. who competed at her former high school Watertown-Mayer High School before moving into the Brainerd School District.

Carlson said Maas and Luke Norquist both won state awards for their work at the state tournament. Norquist earned the award for being the best lawyer and Maas won for being the best witness.

On the BHS mock trial team are:

โ€ข Seniors Maas, played the plaintiff and defendant; Norquist, Alyssa Neistadt and Zoey Heitkotter, played lawyers;

โ€ข Juniors Josiah Wood and Oksana Goncharenko, played witnesses;

โ€ข Sophomores Jaden Wagoner and Sayali Blowers, played witnesses, and Mari Hermerding, was the time keeper.

Coordinated by the Minnesota State Bar Association, the state's high school mock trial program introduces students to the American legal system by creating a fictional case each year that teams across the state work from and develop arguments for.

The case teams competed against at the state tournament was a civil case, where Chris Jackson, a senior and student council president at John Madison High School, was suing the principal at the high school, for infringing her right to free speech.

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