Bachus & Schanker Contributes to Lakewood High School’s Participation in the Providence Cup Mock Trial Competition

Lakewood High School’s Mock Trial Team: Taylor Kelson (attorney), Connor Trafton (attorney), Aharon Fleury (witness), Anton Nguyen-Vu (witness), and Jackson Emanuel (witness)

Day 1 (Friday, November 6th): Today was the first day of competition for the Providence Cup. After a brief scare involving lost case materials, we got everyone through security and into the courthouse. We had never competed in this tournament before, so we didn’t know exactly what to expect. After a brief introduction, we were dispatched to our first round.

The team preparing to compete in the championship round. Clockwise, from top left: Aharon Fleury, Jackson Emanuel, Anton Nguyen-Vu, Connor Trafton, Taylor Kelson.

The team preparing to compete in the championship round. Clockwise, from top left: Aharon Fleury, Jackson Emanuel, Anton Nguyen-Vu, Connor Trafton, Taylor Kelson.

Our first opponent was the Palmer A team. Palmer was the 2009 state champion, and the Providence Cup team had several members in common with the championship team, so we knew we were in for a hard fight. We presented defense against their prosecution, and felt that the round went very well, especially for the first of the competition. Our second round was against the Bear Creek B team, where we presented our prosecution against their defense. While they were not quite the caliber of the Palmer team, it was still a hard-fought round, especially since our prosecution side of the case was slightly weaker than our defense. The second round didn’t conclude until 9:45 pm on Friday, so we left to get a much-needed night of rest before day 2.

Day 2 (Saturday, November 7th): The day opened with the unfortunate news that the Palmer A team had been forced to withdraw due to a family emergency that had called one of the team members back home. We had enjoyed the company and the competition of the team, and were looking forward to possibly facing them in the championship round, so we were disappointed that they had to leave early. In the first round of the day, round 3, our defense faced the prosecution of a team comprised of members from many high schools who had met each other at the Providence Foundation’s Academy of Law and Leadership. Their rhetoric skills were outstanding, and the round was highly contested. Their team went on to win the professionalism award for the competition. Round 4, the final regular competition round, placed our defense against the prosecution of Rock Canyon. We knew that, if our scores so far had been good, the outcome of this round would determine whether or not we moved on to the championships, so we put our best foot forward. A few minutes after round 4 concluded, we were excited to hear that we had made it to the championship round. The championship round pitted our prosecution against the defense of Bear Creek A. This team, which had won the Providence Cup in 2008 and fared well at the state tournament, was another formidable opponent. Both teams put forth a compelling case, and our presentation was by far our best.

Awards Ceremony (Saturday evening, November 7th): After the championship round, the team headed to Dave and Busters for dinner and to hear the results of the tournament. The first awards presented were the Professionalism and Spirit awards. They went to the Providence Academy and Glenwood Springs teams respectively. Awards were also presented to the three top attorneys and the three top witnesses of the whole tournament; Aharon Fleury received an Outstanding Witness award, and Taylor Kelson received an Outstanding Attorney award. Last, in the moment we had been waiting for, our team received the “Championship Finalist” (2nd place overall) award for the tournament. This means that we were most likely undefeated in regular competition, and lost by ballots to Bear Creek A in the championship round (though due to the way scoring works, it is theoretically possible that we lost a prior round and won the championship round). We were disappointed not to walk away with the Providence Cup, but overall we were extremely pleased to walk away with second place and two individual awards in our first year in the tournament.

Our participation in the Providence Cup has now concluded, and we have begun work on the case for regular season Mock Trial competition in February. We are still anxiously awaiting ballots, comments, and points from the Providence Cup, which should be released sometime next week. The tournament was a great experience for all five team members, and hopefully the insight and practice we gained will help propel us to success in the regular season.