Mock Trial to the Elite 8 for the first time in 13 years


Provided by Mock Trial

Mock Trial at the Sweet 16 Tournament at the Concord District Courthouse moves on to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2013.

Sophia Keang, Editor-in-Chief

WA’s Mock Trial team won its first trial in the Sweet 16 of the State Tournament and will now compete in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2010 on Thursday, March 2. With a current season record of 5-0, the team is now ranked one of the top eight high school mock trial teams out of over 100 schools in Massachusetts. They will be headed to the Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston on Wednesday, March 8 to compete in their first trial of the Elite Eight Tournament.

The Elite Eight is a highly competitive and intense round in which only the best eight high schools in Massachusetts will compete in. Other schools that will also be competing in the Elite Eight include Phillips Academy, Malden Catholic, Dover Sherborn, Pioneer Valley Performing Arts, Newtown South, Gann Academy, and Nauset Regional. While WA’s opponent and side of the trial will be determined the day of the trial, the team is preparing for both the side of the plaintiff and defendant.

Every September, high schools from across Massachusetts compete in the tournaments held by the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Mock Trial Program. Tournament season officially started back in January and will run through the month of March.

All registered schools are divided into 32 regions geographically and compete in three preliminary rounds, and with the WA Mock Trial’s undefeated season, they have earned the title of Regional Champions prior to the Sweet 16.

“I’m just really proud of our team for making it this far and grateful for all the resources,” senior captain Rohita Krishnakumar said. “I know I want to be an attorney when I’m older, so I’m really happy for this opportunity to explore this career field by getting to study, analyze, and perform these legal cases.”

For the first time in WA Mock Trial history, the team is led by Krishnakumar alongside a junior co-captain, Nikhil Singh. In addition to new leadership, Mock Trial advisor and history teacher Jonathan Meagher provided the team with resources that helped the team achieve a successful season.

With 26 years of Mock Trial coaching, Meagher brought experience to the team like no other coach had before. Meagher has stayed connected to his former students, who are now attorneys, and invited them to talk to the team and provide feedback for some of their cases. Not only did this provide advice for the team to perform better at their tournaments, but they also provided professional insight into the law field.

“We really benefited from our coaches that Mr. Meagher helped bring in, such as Lorenzo Cabantog and Hayley Trahan-Liptak,” Singh said. “Because of Mr. Meagher’s connections, we’ve been able to have really good resources that helped with our success.”

Furthermore, the team’s dedication is evident with their commitment to the club. Meetings are held at least three times a week for two hours, occasionally on Saturdays, and the team even meets over the winter and holiday breaks.

“We’re not in a transitional period anymore after the pandemic,” Krishnakumar said. “We’ve gotten used to Mr. Meagher’s coaching and we’ve also put in more time to the club than we have ever before.”

On the day of the Elite Eight trial, the team will know if they have furthered to the Final Four trial almost immediately.

“I think it’s really cool how far we’ve made it into the season,” senior Anamika Pusalkar said. “I’m so proud of this team and beyond grateful for our wonderful coaches who have helped us and we wouldn’t be here without them, […] I’m excited to go to Boston and see all these incredible teams.”

Overall, the team is excited for Wednesday and is grateful not only for having made it this far into the season, but also feels grateful for the experience and opportunities Mock Trial has given them. According to Singh, the team will focus on strengthening their case and aspects of public speaking. Meagher is also looking forward to Wednesday’s trial as the team has earned it.

“I think the experience for the students will be fantastic,” Meagher said. “Going into the Federal Courthouse in Boston performing in a larger setting will be a really great experience for these guys.”