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Published: Wednesday, 10/23/2013 - Updated: 10 months ago

Southview mock-trial competitors hailed for win

Sylvania students, staff cheer nationally victorious team

BY ROBERTA GEDERT
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Principal Dave McMurray, center, holds up a trophy while leading Southview students who won a Mock Trial team competition over the weekend in New York. Principal Dave McMurray, center, holds up a trophy while leading Southview students who won a Mock Trial team competition over the weekend in New York.
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A team of 10 Southview High School students who earned the title of world champion for their competitive command in the legal world was lauded today by school students and staff.

The students, who returned Tuesday after a three-day mock trial competition in New York City, paraded the halls of Southview during the lunch hour, sporting their trophy while members of the school's band followed along playing the fight song.

The team beat out 39 teams from five countries at the Empire City Invitational world tournament to clinch the world title for their legal strategy in a criminal court case scenario involving a drunken driving fatality. In the synopsis, the defendant, a fictitious college student named Danny Dawson, faced criminal charges after he drank too much and got behind the wheel of a car, killing a female student.

The scenarios are given to teams three months before the competition.

Principal Dave McMurray, left, congratulates some of the members of the mock trial team. From left: Eric Zhu, Catherine Dong, Lily Yan, and Claire Coder. Principal Dave McMurray, left, congratulates some of the members of the mock trial team. From left: Eric Zhu, Catherine Dong, Lily Yan, and Claire Coder.
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"We have to take what they give us and interpret it, then give our own spin on it," said Claire Coder, 16, a junior who took on the role of giving opening statements for the prosecution in the case.

During competition, each team must compete in five rounds - two as a defense team and two as prosecution in the case each school was given to try. In the final round, the Southview students worked as a defense team for the young Dawson, who was found not guilty by a jury made up of New York attorneys, in a 8-5 vote.

Teams are given a preliminary ranking before the world competition begins based on performances - Southview found itself at the bottom of the pile at 35th out of 40 teams before entering the championship round.

"There were times we didn't believe in ourselves," said Yuran Chen, 17, a senior on the mock trial team who is interested in going into law. "But we prepared for this like we were going to win."

In addition to Claire and Yuran, other teams members were Eric Zhu, Shaleen Goel, Katherine Ellis, Sevil Clifford, Catherine Dong, Lilly Yan, Nikila Luke, and Zachary Poczekaj. They were coached by local attorneys Denny Lyle, Tony Turley and Dan Ellis, and Mr. Lyle's wife, Vicki Lyle.

Teacher Paul Moffitt, left, applauds from the doorway of his classroom during the parade. Teacher Paul Moffitt, left, applauds from the doorway of his classroom during the parade.
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The team also worked with Sylvania Police Sgt. Justin Music, Municipal Judge Scott Ramey and the Lucas County Coroner’s office to learn different legal aspects of their theme.

The Sylvania Community Action Team paid for the team's trip to New York.

Southview Principal David McMurray said the team will also be honored during a pep rally at school Nov. 1 before the school's football game that night against Northview High School.

"I'm extremely proud; our mock trial team has been a contender every year," Mr. McMurray said.

The Southview team next prepares to compete in a state competition in Columbus that is held January through March. Winners of that competition move on to a national forum in May.

Contact Roberta Gedert at: rgedert@theblade.com or 419-724-6081.



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