The Marianas High School mock trial team bested four other high schools and won their first mock trial competition, earning them the opportunity to represent their school and the entire CNMI in the upcoming statewide National Mock Trial competition in Georgia.
Last Friday, the MHS mock trial team came head to head with the Mount Carmel School team in the championship round of the 21st Annual CNMI Mock Trial competition and broke the private school’s three-year winning streak.
Aside from MCS, MHS also topped Grace Christian Academy, Saipan International School, and Tinian Jr./Sr. High School.
Although MHS triumphed over MCS, there were no hard feelings and members of the MCS mock trial team even congratulated their winning rival after the awards ceremony.
The MHS mock trial team will travel to Athens, Georgia in May to participate in their first statewide national mock trial competition.
Chief Public Defender Douglas Hartig, lawyer Christopher Timmons, lawyer Michael Dotts, instructors Donald Cohen, and Barbara Sher coached the MHS team.
“It’s been a journey. We’ve been at this since Oct. 2 and it was five months of preparations for two days of trial and they did not miss a practice. They were there after school, on Saturdays. I owe this victory to them. I am speechless,” said Cohen.
The mock trial’s focus this year was the fictitious case of Justin Pangelinan v. ForensiTech Inc. In the fictitious case, Pangelinan, a minor and the only son of Alex Pangelinan, sustained serious injuries while attending ForensiTech science camp at the Northern Marianas College in Finasisu.
MHS played the role of prosecutor during the championship round, while MCS played the role of defense.
MHS prosecuting attorney Shea Hartig was overjoyed following their win and said the six years of hard work she has invested in mock trial competitions finally paid off.
“It feels like the thing that I spent the past six years of my life working on has finally paid off,” she said.
Hartig said she does not know what to expect as she and her team enters the national mock trial competition, but she is excited for the experience they will have.
Hartig credited a lot of their success to her father and lawyer coach for not just the time he invested in coaching her and her team, but also for the amount of support and encouragement he gave her.
“My dad is the best part of every competition like this…and the best words I can hear from all of this isn’t ‘You won’ but ‘I’m proud of you’ and that’s what I got from my dad, so that meant a lot,” she said.
Hartig was honorably mentioned as the best defense attorney, while the best prosecution attorney honorable mention was given to Reica Ramirez of MCS.
The Supreme Court Professionalism Award honorable mention went to MCS.