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Members of the Creighton Prep mock trial team pose with coaches and Judge Timothy Burns after winning the 2018 Nebraska high school mock trial competition Dec. 4 at the Federal Courthouse in Omaha. From left: Patrick Cooper, attorney at Fraser Stryker law firm; junior Chris Nubel; sophomore Nate Reyes; senior Jaliya Nagahawatte; Judge Timothy Burns, judge of the state competition; sophomore Dominic Mendlik; juniors Joe Oberlies, Mason Mandolfo and Matthew Mandolfo; and Mark Laughlin, attorney at Fraser Stryker. COURTESY PHOTO

Creighton Prep wins second straight mock trial state title

For the second year in a row, Creighton Prep has taken control of the courtroom.

Finishing its local competition season 9-0, the Prep mock trial team qualified for the state tournament Dec. 3 and 4 at the Federal Courthouse in Omaha after defeating other top-ranked teams from the metro area including Duchesne Academy and Skutt Catholic. At this year’s Nebraska state high school mock trial competition, Prep swept all three preliminary rounds to go on to beat Gering High School in the finals.

Other schools in the archdiocese also performed well in state competition. Scotus Central Catholic High School in Columbus took fourth place while Skutt took sixth. The Creighton Prep team included senior Jaliya Nagahawatte, juniors Chris Nubel, Joe Oberlies, Mason Mandolfo and Matthew Mandolfo, and sophomores Dominic Mendlik and Nate Reyes.

In the groundwork of a mock trial case, each team prepares both sides of argumentation. This year’s case featured a teenage defendant who was accused of delivery of fentanyl, a pain management drug, and inducing a witness, his best friend, to give false testimony.

“The most important skills needed to be successful in mock trial are teamwork and the ability to think on your feet. Our students need to be able to adapt as things come up during the case,” said James Justice, head coach of the Prep team. “Our boys do a good job of changing strategies depending on what the other side presents or questions that come up during the case.”

“Teamwork is also very important,” he said. “Our attorneys and witnesses need to be able to work together in order to have success throughout the season,”

As winners of this year’s state competition, Prep will go on to represent Nebraska at the National High School Mock Trial Championship May 16-18 in Athens, Ga.

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