Wheelersburg Mocktrial advances to State


By Darian Gillette - [email protected]



Several members of the Wheelersburg Mock Trial team celebrate after watching the live announcement of schools who qualified for the state competition. Pictured, left to right: Eric Kephas (coach), Addison Mullins, Alexander Thomas, Rachel Davenport, Kaleigh Bentley, Makahla Petitto, Evan Wills (coach).

Several members of the Wheelersburg Mock Trial team celebrate after watching the live announcement of schools who qualified for the state competition. Pictured, left to right: Eric Kephas (coach), Addison Mullins, Alexander Thomas, Rachel Davenport, Kaleigh Bentley, Makahla Petitto, Evan Wills (coach).


Coaches Evan Wills and Eric Kephas discuss strategy with members of the Wheelersburg High School Mock Trial team.


Front row, left to right: Alexander Thomas, Rachel Davenport, Makahla Petitto, Jerry Zhenger Second row, left to right: Maegan Jolly, Addison Mullins, Maria Nolan Third row, left to right: Abyghale Jones, Addy Bowling, Kaleigh Bentley Fourth row, left to right: Coaches Evan Wills and Eric Kephas


Wheelersburg Mocktrial will advance to state finals March 10-12.

“The last couple of years because of Covid has been pretty different than what we are used to,” said Coach Evan Wills. “We’ll start at the local level all going to the courthouse competing against local teams but this year and last year have been done over zoom.”

Wills said teams thoughout Ohio get randomly matched to compete.

“As an area I think it shows the strength of Mocktrial overall as a county because we had four teams make it out of District into Regionals and I think we were able to get more teams into Regionals from the county because we didn’t all have to play each other under this virtual format,” said Wills,

Wills said due to the trial being online, they had to wait to find out they advanced to state.

“In traditional Mocktrial competition you find out the day you hold your trial, what your outcome was and if you advance,” said Wills. “This year we had to wait three or four days before finding out if we advanced or not so that’s been a pretty big challenge.”

According to Wills, Wheelersburg Mocktrial has not went to state competition since 2008.

“I am just really excited and happy for the kids because this is all driven by them,” said Wills. “I set up meetings and provide input here and there but the group of kids, especially our seniors, drive themselves and hold themselves accountable to a tremendously high level.”

Wheelersburg Mocktrial seniors include Rachel Davenport, Makayla Petito, Alex Thomas, and Maegan Jolly.

“I am so happy to see them get the success that they have worked so hard on, especially the seniors, all these years of hard work pay off for them,” said Wills.

Wills said Assistant Coach, Eric Kephas, has been a great help.

“He volunteers a lot of time, a lot of energy, to work with the kids and he has been fantastic for several years now,” said Wills.

Several members of the Wheelersburg Mock Trial team celebrate after watching the live announcement of schools who qualified for the state competition. Pictured, left to right: Eric Kephas (coach), Addison Mullins, Alexander Thomas, Rachel Davenport, Kaleigh Bentley, Makahla Petitto, Evan Wills (coach).
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/03/web1_MT2-State-Qualification-1.jpgSeveral members of the Wheelersburg Mock Trial team celebrate after watching the live announcement of schools who qualified for the state competition. Pictured, left to right: Eric Kephas (coach), Addison Mullins, Alexander Thomas, Rachel Davenport, Kaleigh Bentley, Makahla Petitto, Evan Wills (coach).

Coaches Evan Wills and Eric Kephas discuss strategy with members of the Wheelersburg High School Mock Trial team.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/03/web1_MT5-Candid-1.jpgCoaches Evan Wills and Eric Kephas discuss strategy with members of the Wheelersburg High School Mock Trial team.

Front row, left to right: Alexander Thomas, Rachel Davenport, Makahla Petitto, Jerry Zhenger Second row, left to right: Maegan Jolly, Addison Mullins, Maria Nolan Third row, left to right: Abyghale Jones, Addy Bowling, Kaleigh Bentley Fourth row, left to right: Coaches Evan Wills and Eric Kephas
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/03/web1_MT1-Full-Team-1.jpegFront row, left to right: Alexander Thomas, Rachel Davenport, Makahla Petitto, Jerry Zhenger Second row, left to right: Maegan Jolly, Addison Mullins, Maria Nolan Third row, left to right: Abyghale Jones, Addy Bowling, Kaleigh Bentley Fourth row, left to right: Coaches Evan Wills and Eric Kephas

By Darian Gillette

[email protected]

Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved