Bench & Bar of Minnesota is the official publication of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Nova scores again

Nova Classical Academy, a K-12 charter school in St. Paul and this year’s state mock trial champion, took third place at the 2016 high school National Mock Trial Tournament on May 14. Seniors Caroline Behling-Hess, Mary Clare Burke, Sophia Cherif, Ignasi Dorca, Hannah Hoefs, Liam Magistad, Anya Magnuson, and Luke Westawker ran an undefeated 2016 season, winning a total of 15 trials, four of them at the national tournament in Boise, Idaho. The team bested its fourth-place finish last year, this time missing the final championship round on a tie-breaker with the two finalist teams. The team was coached by three attorney coaches, Scott Jurchisin, Joshua Peterson, and Collin Tierney, as well as Nova alumna Liza Michaeli and faculty adviser Don Burrows. This year marked the third time in four years that the school has won the state mock trial championship, and its third-place showing at nationals is its highest performance to date.

A Minnesota team has placed in the top 12 for eight years in a row, including a champion, a runner-up, and two third place finishers. No other state has done as well. To learn more about the program, please visit our website at: or contact Kim Basting at

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