Tennessee high school mock trial teams have historically competed strongly in national and international competitions. and 2020 has been no exception.
Unfortunately, the Tennessee Bar Association’s State High School Mock Trial Competition, scheduled for March, was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. District champions crowned before the cancellation included Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville and CSTHEA (Chattanooga/Southeast Tennessee Home Education Association) from the Scenic City.
Although the stage was set for a showdown between these two perennial powerhouse teams, that trial was not to be. However, both lineups did compete this month in the Empire Mock Trial World Championship.
Typically held in New York City, the annual competition used a virtual format – a first for both MBA and CSTHEA.
Once again, circumstances kept MBA and CSTHEA from a head-to-head faceoff, as the teams were placed in different divisions in the 40-team field. However, both lineups excelled in the competition, which centered on a criminal case involving two counts of burglary.
The Chattanooga team placed 10th – just one point short on one judge’s ballot from having the opportunity to meet MBA. The MBA team prevailed in its division and ultimately placed second, falling just short of taking the top spot in the final round.
Competing for CSTHEA were Paul Atherton, Blaiklyn Owens, Colyn Jones, Dylan Barnes, Ella Dewitt, Ethan Ramey, Gabriella Rowell and Zac Clark.
“Having two Tennessee teams place in the top 10 in the world championship of high school mock trial was amazing,” says Chancellor Jeff Atherton, coach of CSTHEA. “When adding the extra challenge of having to try their cases in virtual courtrooms over the internet, rather than in-person, their accomplishments are even more impressive.”
Atherton says he hopes a showdown between these teams will take place this year at the TBA’s state competition, which the chancellor says will likely be held virtually.
Source: Chancellor Jeff Atherton