Pullman. — WSU’s mock trial teams shined at the Creighton Bluejay Invitational held Nov. 14-15, bringing home a second place trophy and honorable mention in the 26-team
competition.
 
The WSU program is in its sixth season, and Mock Trial Club advisor and associate professor of political science Mitch Pickerill said it was “WSU’s best showing ever at a tournament.” 

All three WSU teams, Crimson, Gray and the all-rookie Gold, traveled to Omaha, Neb., to compete.

“As a political science/pre-law major, mock trial has probably been the most rewarding experience of my undergraduate career,” said Team Gray co-captain Ian Stamme, a senior from Olympia, Wash. “I’ve wanted to be a trial lawyer since I was 10. WSU has had a highly competitive mock trial program all three years that I have been a part of it, and the strong showing in Omaha was just another step towards building it into one of the best in the region.”

The second place Team Gray comprises co-captains Stamme and John Polonis, a political science major from Kirkland, Wash.; Erika Thorsness, a criminal justice major from Anchorage, Alaska; Miriam Kasaika, a communication and political science major from Federal Way, Wash.; Arthur Sawe, a political science/pre-law major from Seattle; Mikael Rojas, an English and political science major from Yakima, Wash.; Samuel Shaddoz, a political science major from Tonasket, Wash.; and Normina Von Sauer, a business major from Republic, Wash.

Polonis said, “Mock trial teaches you how to think and act like an attorney. By participating in a simulated courtroom setting, participants learn how to build a case theory for the side they represent, incorporate a theme which ties into this theory, and develop witnesses who advance this theory throughout the trial.”

Team Crimson co-captain Dan Taitingfong, a philosophy and political science major from Airway Heights, Wash., was recognized with an outstanding attorney award, and Team Gold co-captain Zac Lopez, a political science/pre-law major from Kennewick, Wash., received an outstanding witness award.

Team Crimson initially tied for fourth place and finished with an honorable mention. Members are co-captains Taitingfong and Ann Nguyen, a women’s studies and political science major from Richland, Wash.; Rhyan Anderson, a political science/pre-law major from Bellevue, Wash.; Chris Tanimoto, a philosophy and political science major from Kent, Wash.; Ross Steele, a biology major from Moscow, Idaho; Jared Reams, a philosophy major from Silverdale, Wash.; and Trip Shields, a political science major from Spokane, Wash.

Team Gold members include co-captains Lopez and Matt Tougas, a political science/pre-law major from Silverdale, Wash.; Jaron Lindbom, a political science major from Bellevue, Wash.;  Mary Olson, a junior from Chewelah, Wash.; Tawnee Sakima, a philosophy/pre-law major from Honolulu; Derrick Skaug, a political science major from Spokane, Wash.; Crystal Neifert, a communication and finance major from Yakima, Wash.; and Derrick Wright, a political science major from Las Vegas. 

Pickerill started the mock trial program at WSU in 2003 and has been leading the teams since, with political science graduate student and assistant coach Denise Mowder.