Feb 28, 2019
Two Glenwood Springs High School mock trial teams will be heading to state championship next month after sweeping regionals on Saturday and Sunday, but after a strong third place finish Rifle High School’s all junior team likes their “Several new faces stepped up for us,” said Rifle High School social studies teacher Nate Miller, who served as the team’s sponsor for the first time. “I’m quite confident our team of senior will be going to state next year.”
While Miller serves as sponsor, Garfield County Judge Jon Pototsky has been its coach for many years.
Miller said he looks forward to watching the team grow again next year.
“I didn’t anticipate being this excited about it,” he added.
Rifle’s third place team included Hannah Bodrogi, Ethan Mackley, Joseph Goldstein, Fernanda Cerros, Ethan Spevere, Jilian Maddison, and Coal Ridge High School’s Alice Chapel.
Rifle second team, which included a much younger lineup was made up of freshmen Bailey Braun, Elena Nunez, Mackenzie Cagle, Alexis Moore, Dyllan Pehrson, and junior Dayanna Alvarez.
Miller added that he’s proud of every student that competed and he feels very confident in what the team will be able to do next year too.
Regionals also gave out several individual award to Rifle High School students including top defense attorney, best direct examiner and best opener to Hannah Bodrogi. Jilian Maddison was rated the best cross-examiner. Fernanda Cerros took home the award for best “Dr. Ellison Hicks,” the character she was playing on the defense. Ethan Mackley was rated the best “Bellamy Lestrange,” his character. Cerros and Mackley were also rated the two best witnesses overall.
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.