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School building mock trial dynasty

Staff Report

Mar 13, 2005

When a small Western Slope team heads to the Front Range, it’s tempting to call the team an underdog.Glenwood Springs High School’s mock trial team is no exception. After all, it has to compete against the Front Range’s big and private schools.But the truth is that Glenwood mock trial teams are anything but underdogs. “We’re state champs again,” Glenwood senior Scott Straus said Sunday.

In fact, it’s the only team to win four consecutive state mock trial championships. Glenwood’s first team beat out George Washington, Cherry Creek and Kent Denver to win its fourth consecutive mock trial state championship Saturday in Boulder.But the title wasn’t quite a given.

“With all these new people it took a lot of work,” said Straus, the only member returning from last year’s national team. But, “our coaches just put in so much time with us and believed in us, and we were able to do it.”

In years past the team has had standout members who helped lead the team to victory, but this year the whole team is strong, Straus said. With the state championship, Glenwood’s mock trial team won the right to represent Colorado at the national tournament, where in the past three years it has taken third, second, and seventh.

The national competition is a whole new game. For the state competition the team had months to prepare both a prosecution and a defense for a case that involved a suspicious death at a college party. But for the national competition, the team will have just one month, said Wes Burke, GSHS’s mock trial teacher and coach. Burke attributed the team’s success to great community support.

Twenty-five lawyers help coach Glenwood’s three teams, almost every parent is active in the club, and local courts are more than willing to provide practice space, Burke said. As for the growing mock trial dynasty, “I think we can do it next year,” senior Zach Hallford said. The next few teams should be loaded with talented veterans, he said. Glenwood’s second team, which took second at regionals in Grand Junction March 5, did well, but results for that team haven’t been determined.

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