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Glenwood Mock Trial teams sweep regional tourney

Grace Gamba

Mar 3, 2012

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Following in their nearly unbroken tradition, the Glenwood Springs High School Mock Trial Program claimed the top three spots at the regional tournament held Feb. 17 and 18 in Grand Junction.

The top two teams will now advance to the state competition March 9 and 10 in Boulder. They’ll have the chance to vie for the state title as defending champions.

The regional tournament consisted of five rounds of competition in which participants were evaluated on their ability to perform the roles of witnesses and attorneys in a trial.

This year teams prepared a murder case in which a teenager, Sam Seaside, allegedly killed his best friend Nicole Shore.

“All four of our teams performed with excellence,” head coach Charlie Willman said. “Teams 1 and 3 impressed the scoring judges throughout the tournament, winning each of their four preliminary rounds and then going head to head in a close match.”

Team 3 ultimately won by two points, he said.

Comprised completely of freshman, the GSHS Team 3 emerged as Western Slope champions. Team 3 was instructed by veteran Mock Trial coach Judge Victor Zerbi. Team members are Francesca Chavez, Cassidy Creer, Rorey Freeman, Natasha Jordan, Mikaela Liotta, Ben Neiley, Maggie Rosen and Kira Willis.

“The biggest [challenge] for our team is that we’re so young and we didn’t really think we could do it,” said Rosen.

Glenwood’s Team 1 followed with an extremely close second-place finish. The team was coached by Charlie Willman and included Erica Arensman, Isaac Carlson, Grace Gamba, Olivia Hayes, Eileen Klomhaus, Claire McKenna, Andrew Metzger and Rachel Rosenberg.

Arensman described the challenges her team faced in the tournament.

“We went against some of our own teams, which is difficult because those are teams we have scrimmaged in the past. It’s more difficult to take them by surprise,” she said.

Team 2 earned a third-place finish, and was lead by local attorney John Neiley. This predominantly sophomore team consisted of Olivia Ayers, Louis Bini, Kallie Felkey, Warren Knutson, Elise Metzger, Liam Savage and Andrew Schied.

Two teams each from Durango and Grand Junction participated in the tournament in addition to the three Glenwood teams. A fourth Glenwood team participated but was not scored.

The tournament also recognized individual excellence with outstanding witness and attorney awards.

All of the five best attorney awards went to Glenwood competitors Andrew Schied, Liam Savage, Erica Arensman, Genny Oliva (of Team 4) and Ben Neiley.

Bini and Andrew Metzger garnered the honor of outstanding witnesses.

“You have to have a lot of personality and act like you’re really part of the case,” Bini said, in outlining what made him successful as a witness.

Proud though the teams are of their accomplishments at regional tournament, the most stringent challenges are still ahead, Willman said.

“I want each team to step up its performance and compete solidly against what I expect are very good teams, including the perennial favorites of Lewis-Palmer, Lakewood, Colorado Academy, Regis and Kent,” Willman said.

He also expressed his hope for the two Glenwood teams to face off in the championship round – assuring a Glenwood Springs state championship – and for Team 1 to return to the national tournament.

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