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Dixie Heights team wins third Mock Trial State championship, headed to national trials in May

Special to NKyTribune

Gifted high school students from across the state gathered at the Kenton County Justice Center over the weekend to compete in the Kentucky High School Mock Trial State Tournament.  Nearly half the teams to advance from their regions to the “Mock Trial Sweet Sixteen” hailed from Northern Kentucky, including: two teams from Covington Catholic; two teams from Highland Heights; two teams from Dixie Heights; and 2017 Regional Champion Notre Dame.
Student lawyer and witness teams presented their cases during an arduous three day competition under the bright lights of cameras in Justice Center courtrooms, with the final round broadcast by TBNK.  Students participated in up to five capital murder trials, with many students representing one side of the case in their morning trial, then turning the tables to represent the other side during their second trial of the day. 

Will Schneider, Lauren Hudson, Sydney Scaggs, Anna Claire West, Allison Lloyd, Sydney Jones, Davis West, and Coach Jim West  

Volunteer lawyers and judges from across the Commonwealth scored the competition, featuring Kenton County Circuit Court Judge Gregory M. Bartlett who presided over the Championship Round on Sunday morning between Dixie Heights and Madison Central.  In a re-match of the 2016 Championship Round, Dixie Heights captured its third State Championship in the last four years.  The Dixie Heights tournament run included a phenomenal 20-3-1 record on scoring ballots.     
The sons and daughters of local lawyers and local coaches populated many of Northern Kentucky’s strongest teams. 

Dixie coach and local lawyer Jim West’s daughter, Anna Claire West, flanked by co-counsel Senior Will Schneider, went “both ways,” for the defense and prosecution to help win the state title.  Patrick Hughes’ daughter, Julia Hughes, was voted Best Lawyer at region and state from her Top 10 Notre Dame team.  Avery Dietz, son of Jim and Stephanie Dietz, who helped coach Covington Catholic to a Top 10 finish, was voted Best Lawyer at region and state for his team. 
Senior Lauren Hudson, daughter of Frost Brown Todd member Rob Hudson, received Outstanding Lawyer at region, state, and again in the Championship Round for her winning Dixie Heights team.  Lauren credits the Dixie program and her teammates. 

“This is a team competition. To win state, every Dixie attorney and witness had to bring their A game for nine straight trials. Three state championships in four years is also about coaching and leadership.  We had the best.”       
The long-time coach and architect of the Dixie dynasty, local Attorney Jim West, commented before the Championship Round, “In the near future, these students will be strong voices for people who have no voice. 

“That’s what practicing law and good citizenship is all about.” 

Dixie Heights will be representing the Commonwealth of Kentucky in the National High School Mock Trial Championship, May 10-12, in Reno, Nevada. 

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