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King County Mock Trial Tournament News

Photo of YMCA King County Mock Trial 2021

"May it please the court" to know that Seattle Academy’s Mock Trial teams competed in the YMCA King County Regional Tournament, the largest mock trial tournament in Washington, with our Red team ranking 4th out of 16 teams! It is an incredible feat landing them a spot in the State tournament later this month. This marks year three of our State-qualifying streak! 

Both Seattle Academy Mock Trial teams proved they can perform—regardless if it is in the courtroom or over Zoom. Yes, even trials have moved to Zoom.   

Students worked hard from September to March preparing to conduct a full trial, from pretrial to closing, completely on Zoom. Maggie Johnson '23 reflected, “I am blown away by what we were able to do under the circumstances. There are certainly many issues that come with Zoom trials: delayed starts, computer crashes, and internet troubles, to name a few. While these are present, there are also opportunities Zoom trials bring to the competition that in-person trials do not.” 

A Culture of Performance is one of our guiding principles here at SAAS; it was also a guiding principle in this year’s tournament. It goes without saying that our Mock Trial teams adapted to the times and found ways to bring this performance to the Zoom stage. 

“We really just wanted to give it our all, even in a virtual setting. I honestly think being on Zoom helped SAAS stand out as performers, as we really got into character and performed...We were big and bold in our characters of witness and attorney, using emphasis and movement to pop on a little screen,” says Avery Berg '23. 

Courtroom demeanor, witness testimony, and jury evaluations take on new meaning when remote. It wasn’t easy translating this performance to the screen. “We constantly changed our directs and cross-examinations after our practice trials and run-throughs to make sure our case would run as smoothly as possible,” notes Anika Segall '22.

Our Mock Trial participants forged new standards for remote presentations and a sense of pride is expressed by many. “I am so proud of our team this year and am very grateful to have been a part of such an amazing community,” remarks Elise Gundlach '23. Their coach Magda Buikema echoes the same, “[Our students] have each shown incredible tenacity, grace, and good humor throughout this whole process. We are immensely proud of all of them.”

I think Anika Segall '22 and Finn McSherry '23 sum it up best: “I am so grateful to all the teachers, and judges, and people who made this mock trial season possible and taught me so much, and made it happen even on an online platform,” states Anika. And Finn adds, “Hopefully we’re in an actual courtroom next year.” 

Thanks to our stellar Mock Trial Coaches Magda Buikema and Amanda McCarther!

Additional highlights to the following students were nominated for best attorneys and witnesses: Mason MclIlwain ‘21, Lauren Pearl '21, Tatum McLaughlin '22, Finn McSherry '23, Henry Thompson '22, Keaton Marcus ‘23, Harper Stone '24, and Avery Berg '23.

Lastly, we want to acknowledge the volunteer attorneys who gave us so much of their time to help the kids prepare: Geoff Burg (SAAS Parent), Kevin Trumbold (SAAS Parent), Jason Lantz, and Kristen Lange.

State competition will be held virtually on March 18-21. Let’s go Team Red

Seattle Academy Red Seattle Academy Gray

Tatum McLaughlin '22

Sonja Washburn '21

Mason McIlwain '21

Elise Gundlach '23

Lauren Pearl '21

Anika Segall '22

Maggie Johnson '23

Avery Berg '23

Stellar Bigatel '22

Natalie Graham '21

Finn McSherry '23

Griffen Bell '24


Henry Thompson '22

Max Harper '22

Sam Ceballos-Lewin '23

Aubrey Spielholz '22

Aya Nicholls '23

Parker Campbell '22

Trtl Lee '23

Will Sparks '23

Christopher Tappan '23

Keaton Marcus '23

Harper Stone '24