Creighton Prep wins second straight state mock trial

For a second straight year, Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha won the state mock trial competition and will compete in the national championship May 10-12 in Reno, Nev.
Runner-up was Scotus Central Catholic High School in Columbus. A third Catholic high school also competed in the 12-team state tournament Dec. 4-5 at the Sarpy County Courthouse in Papillion: V.J. and Angela Skutt Catholic High School in Omaha. 
Catholic schools have had quite a run in the mock trial competition in Nebraska. Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in Omaha won in 2015 and 2016, and Skutt Catholic won five years straight before that. In 2015, Duchesne also became the only school from Nebraska to capture the national title. 
Creighton Prep attorney-coach Mark Laughlin of St. Margaret Mary Parish and Fraser Stryker law firm, both in Omaha, and father of team member and senior Graham Laughlin, said after three rounds, this year’s team pulled out a 5-2 state championship finals win over Scotus Central Catholic. 
“It’s pretty compact, and it’s pretty stressful for the kids,” he said of the two days of arguments.
The hypothetical case involved two college students – one accused of sending a social media message with an embedded strobe light to another student who had epilepsy, deliberately causing a seizure.
Kelly Koranda, teacher-coach at Scotus Central Catholic, said benefits of mock trial include students developing general confidence and a deeper understanding of the court system, as well as critical thinking and speaking skills, and an ability to listen to and discuss various viewpoints.
“I think this is really helpful to having conversations about their faith, as well,” said Koranda, who also teachers ninth- and 10th-grade religion.
Creighton Prep’s team included seniors Laughlin, Peter Owens, Isaiah Mueller and Nolan Drain; juniors Jaliya Nagahawatte and Patrick Gillaspie; and freshman Dominic Mendlik.
Scotus Central Catholic’s team included seniors Matthew Bichlmeier, Natalie Brutty, Trey Dallman, Brock Kracman, Faith Przymus, Jenna Salerno, Caitlyn Steiner and Alaina Wallick.
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