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Glenwood Springs High School mock trial teams fall short at state competition

Mar 18, 2008

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” There’s a saying that any mock trial team going to the national competition from Colorado must go through Glenwood Springs.

Municipal court judge and longtime mock trial coach Victor Zerbi believes that saying held true this year.

George Washington High School beat William Jackson Palmer High School on Saturday to become the first Denver Public School ever to win the state mock trial competition.

Although Glenwood’s teams didn’t win first place, Zerbi was proud of their efforts.

“The road to the national tournament in Colorado goes through Glenwood Springs, and for 14 or 15 years if we haven’t won it, the team that won it had to go through us,” Zerbi said. “And that was true this year in spades.”

Glenwood’s teams finished eighth and 15th out of 22 teams, according to the Colorado Bar Association.

Both of the teams ended up 2-2, Zerbi said. He was impressed that both teams won their first two rounds and went undefeated on Friday. Team One beat two teams from Ridge View Academy. Glenwood’s second team beat the Air Academy High School and Broomfield High School. Glenwood’s teams were in second and third place after the first day of competition, Zerbi said.

Glenwood’s teams then lost in close matches to George Washington High School and Jackson Palmer High School, the two teams that made it to the final round, Zerbi said.

“So saying you had to go through Glenwood is really true,” Zerbi said.

Glenwood’s teams lost again in matches against Palmer and Boulder High School.

“George Washington this year was one of the finest teams I’ve seen that we’ve faced in Colorado,” Zerbi said. “It will be a very successful team at the national level. I’m not ashamed of losing to them at all.”

But he added he is disappointed with the close match against Palmer. He and Glenwood’s other coaches thought Glenwood won. It can be a toss up for judges evaluating a close match.

“It’s a matter of performance,” he said. “What one person likes may make a lot of difference.”

This year, teams tried a cold criminal case involving an imaginary robbery at the Fort Collins Farmers Market that killed a street performer. Teams prepare for both sides of the case and find out which they must present right before they perform.

The state competition was held at the Larimer County Justice Center in Fort Collins Friday and Saturday. George Washington will compete in the national championship in Delaware starting May 8. There 44 teams compete from the U.S., Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and Korea.

“High school students who participate in the Colorado Bar Association Mock Trial Program are given a rare opportunity to learn about the substance and the processes of the law, and to have their performances critiqued by experienced trial lawyers and judges,” Administrative Law Judge David P. Cain said in a news release. “Participants also learn important life skills such as cooperation, teamwork and professional courtesy.”

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