Glenwood Springs teams sweep regional mock trial tournament | PostIndependent.com

Glenwood Springs teams sweep regional mock trial tournament

Glenwood Springs High School mock trial teams swept the top two spots at the regional championships Saturday and Sunday, with the sophomore team beating the older students for the win.

The winning team from GSHS is mostly sophomores, with one freshman student. In second place was another GSHS team, with mostly seniors and juniors.

Both of the winning Glenwood teams will go to Denver for the state mock trial championships in March.

One of Rifle High School’s two mock trial teams came in third place. From New Castle, Liberty Classical Academy’s mock trial also competed in the regional tournament, as did Grand Junction High School’s two teams.

The winning Glenwood team is coached by Zac Parsons, Olivia Hayes, Alex Pototsky, Graham Jackson and Diana Ray.

As head coach, Parsons, a deputy in the 9th District Attorney’s Office, said mock trial is not just an activity for aspiring lawyers.

“We tell the kids, you can go and be anything. You can be an engineer, a doctor. We see kids succeed in almost every field. My job is just teaching the students how to think,” Parsons said.

For Parsons, who was on Glenwood’s 2005 state mock trial champion team, the mock trial experience took him to a career in the courtroom.

“It was one of the things that really prepped me for being a lawyer,” Parsons said. “It instilled a passion for being a trial attorney.”

The second-place team was coached by longtime mock trial mentors Charlie Willman, Wes Burke and Vic Zerbi.

For the regional championships Saturday and Sunday, student teams were assigned to be either prosecutors or defense, and had to argue a case, with evidence and setup provided by the Colorado Bar Association.

The case this year involved fictional criminal charges against a college professor accused of breaking into another professor’s house to steal valuable journals related to Zebulon Pike’s famous expeditions.

The defense witnesses in the case will argue that the alleged victim actually destroyed his own journals, with an accomplice, because he feared they would be discovered to be forgeries. Prosecutors had to prove it was a burglary beyond a reasonable doubt, and defense teams argued that it was more likely a frame job.

Each team had three attorneys and three witnesses, and all were judged on professionalism, demeanor, confidence, knowledge of evidence materials, and how well they knew the rules of courtroom objections.

The state championship will be held at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Golden March 8 and 9.

tphippen@postindependent.com