Four Johnston mock trial teams advance to state

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The Mockingjays, coached by Justin Allen. Team members: *^Captain Audrey Allen, Maia Tecklenberg, Faith Kreps, *Grace Kreps, Lexi Peterson, Katie Carr, ^Emma Iwamoto, Willie Zhao, Sarah Wetterberg, Mirabel Pinkerton

JOHNSTON, Ia. (March 7, 2024) — Johnston will be represented by four teams at the 2024 Iowa High School Mock Trial Tournament, March 28-29 in Des Moines.

The teams advancing are: The Mockingjays led by Captain Audrey Allen and coached by Justin Allen, Mocked In led by Co-Captains Courtney Sweet and Jackson Zimmerman and coached by Holly Bousselot, Wheeler of Fortune led by Captain Akshara Eswar and coached by Brad Price, and Mo’Rial led by Co-Captains Syon Aggarwal and Ethan MacFarland and coached by Anne MacFarland and Cheryl Smith. 

Mock trial is designed to introduce students to our legal system by providing a challenging, academic competition. The program offers students an opportunity for personal growth and achievement, emphasizing the importance of research, presentation, and teamwork. In addition to teaching students about contemporary public issues and the legal system, the program encourages teachers and students to develop learning partnerships with professionals from the community. Last year, more than 1,600 students from across Iowa participated.

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Mocked In, coached by Holly Bousselot. Team members: Co-Captain *Courtney Sweet, Co-Captain *Jackson Zimmerman, *Maraya Wiltfang, David Zhang, Zak Haring, ^Lucy Kiekhaefer, *^Harrison Burkhardt, ^Amogh Jithendra, Henry Zou, Quinnlyn Schulte. Team Supporter: Owen Ferguson.

Johnston High School was represented  by a total of eight teams this year at the regional tournament.  Six played on March 5 in Des Moines. Two additional teams played March 7 in Marshalltown. Of our teams that played in Des Moines,  four advanced to semifinals on Wednesday. Three teams advanced to state. The Marshalltown Regional was also a challenging experience, with one team advancing to state from that location.  

In addition to team awards, many of our players won Outstanding Witness and/or Outstanding Attorney honors.  Outstanding Attorneys are marked with *, and Outstanding Witnesses are marked with ^.  We had multiple players honored with both Outstanding Attorney AND Outstanding Witness awards.  


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Wheeler of Fortune, coached by Brad Price. Team members: Captain Akshara Eswar, *Lauren Wessling, Sophie Amspaugh, Paige Lehman, Ella Prince, Lucy Minger, Caitlyn Robertson, Henry Baker, Abe Prince and David Shi.

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Mo’Rial, coached by Anne MacFarland and Cheryl Smith. Team members: Co-Captin Syon Aggarwal, *Co-Captain Ethan MacFarland, *Natalie Miller, ^Abbie Tu, ^Paige Neighbors, Harjot Cheema, Mya Campbell, Evitt Fitzgerald, Maris Clifton and Aeva Phipps.