GSHS Mock Trial teams take 1-2-3 at regionals
Special to the Post Independent
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Glenwood Springs students took a couple of brooms to Grand Junction last weekend.
Glenwood’s three mock trial teams swept the competition with the top three scores at the Western Slope Regional Tournament in Grand Junction last weekend. It was the second year in a row Glenwood scored first, second and third in the event, said Glenwood Springs Municipal Court Judge Vic Zerbi, one of the team’s coaches.
Glenwood hopes to become the first team ever to win three consecutive state titles.
“Those people on the Front Range better watch out,” said Wes Burke, a Glenwood Springs High School teacher and mock trial advisor.
Though Glenwood’s three teams all qualified for the state tournament in Jefferson County, only the A and B teams will get to go because of a rule that allows only two teams from each school in the state tournament.
Both the A and B team at the regional competition went undefeated until the final round, when the A team beat the B team in a very close decision.
“It was really intense,” said team B Junior Zach Hallford.
“You could have cut the tension with a knife,” said Zerbi.
In mock trial, teams of students are given a fictitious court case to argue. Teams must argue both the defense and prosecution sides of the case at tournaments. Tournaments are held in real courtrooms and presided over by a real judge. Three lawyers judge the competition and decide which team argued their case better.
The difference between Glenwood Springs’ A and B team is largely a matter of experience, said Zerbi, with the more experienced competitors going to the A team.
In addition to the experience of the team, Glenwood Springs has been so dominant because of a large amount of community participation, said Burke.
“That’s the key to our success,” he said.
The team tries to have one adult attorney for every student mock trial member, and had over 25 attorneys volunteer to help with the program this year, said Burke. Glenwood’s team also has the support of two judges and therefore has access to practice in real courtrooms.
“The kids are probably more comfortable in a courtroom than half the attorneys in town,” said Burke.
Glenwood’s mock trial program is unique in its success because Glenwood Springs High School is a smaller, public school, said Zerbi.
“We’ve always looked at ourselves like David facing Goliath,” he said.
None of the teams at the state tournament will be “push-over teams,” said Hallford, but Glenwood is ready and looking forward to the challenge.
Kent Denver and Regis Jesuit High School are both private schools and very strong contenders for the state title, said Zerbi. And both would like to upset Glenwood Springs in the tournament.
Zerbi has a connection to one of the coaches of the Regis team, and when Regis won their regional competition they reportedly said, “Bring on Glenwood.”
“I’d say this year we have a target on our backs,” said Zerbi.
Rifle and Roaring Fork high schools also competed in the regional competition.
Rifle High School had the fourth-highest score and ended up with the third-place trophy because of the rule that schools may only take two teams to the state tournament, said Zerbi.
Rifle should do well in the state tournament after the team polishes up its presentation, said Rifle High teacher and mock trial moderator Marilyn Latham.
Rifle had to beat out Roaring Fork High School’s top team to qualify for the state tournament, said Roaring Fork coach Jim Conway.
Contact Ryan Graff: 945-8515, ext. 534
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