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Portsmouth West takes championship at District Mock Trial
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The team from Portsmouth West High School emerged as champions during the Scioto County District Mock Trial Competition on Jan. 17. They will now advance to the regional competition on Feb. 7, joined by the runner-up team from Portsmouth High School and advancing team from St. Joseph, Ironton.  

All three of these teams won both their morning and afternoon trials.

“The students have worked so hard for this and they are seeing their hard work pay off,” said West Coach Sarah Johnson. “We do a lot of practices at school and at the courthouse itself. Lots of hours go into this.”

This is the team’s first win with Coach Johnson.

More than 3,000 high school students across the state participated in the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education’s (OCLRE) 37th Annual Ohio Mock Trial Competition. The Scioto County District Competition is coordinated by the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center’s Gifted Coordinator, Sharee Price, along with Judge Howard H. Harcha, III. 

“I’m always impressed by all the time and effort the students and their advisors put into preparing for this event and how knowledgeable they are about what they have studied in preparation,” Price said. “They do a wonderful job and seem to have an outstanding understanding of how our legal system functions. They also gain a great deal of self-confidence through this program as they are required to argue their points in a real courtroom in front of a real audience.”     
 
Regional winners will compete in the state competition on March 12-14 in Columbus. The 2020 State Champion team will represent Ohio at the National High School Mock Trial Championship in Evansville, Indiana from May 7-10.
 
The District Competition included 11 teams from eight schools -- including Ironton, St. Joseph, Notre Dame, Portsmouth, Portsmouth West, River Valley Bidwell, South Webster, Valley, and Wheelersburg.
 
The champion Portsmouth West High School team included Legal Advisor Jay Willis, Whitney Campbell, Tarah Willis, Emily Scaff, Evan Green, Anna Lovins, Gabe Kouns, Macie Jones, John Jones, Cianna Newman, Alexa Leist, Aiden Robinson, and Coach Sarah Johnson. The runner-up Portsmouth High School team included Legal Advisor William Shaw, Katie Davis, Megan Conley, Maisy Green, Matthew Kirkendall, Autumn Wright, Sydney Chabot, Ella Gullet, Sam Finn, Scarlett Caudill, Aiden Donges, Breanna Malone, Coach Bruce Kalb, and Coach Stephanie Boling. The advancing team from St. Joseph, Ironton High School included Legal Advisor Joseph Merkel, Kaitlyn Sheridan, Nick Pauley, Josh Kline, Connor Waller, Paul Delaney, Sami Anderson, Elizabeth Kline, Drew Clark, Mark Hodges, Zachary Johnson, and Coach Maria Goldcamp-Hodges.
 
Outstanding Attorneys awards were presented to Haley Williams, Karsyn Conaway, Rachel Davenport, Whitney Campbell, Kathryn Davis, Emma Madden, Alex Morris, Nick Pauley, Connor Waller, Evan Green, and Kristen Clark.
 
Outstanding Witnesses awards were presented to Sophia Knight, Scarlett Caudill, Cianna Newman, Anna Lovins, Madison Thompson, Sydnee Runyon, Alexander Thomas, Tanner Preston, Emily Graff, and Kason Bauer.
 
The Scioto County District Competition is sponsored by American Legion James Dickey Post 23, Velma Feagans, the Honorable Howard H. Harcha, III, Portsmouth Bar Association, Portsmouth Rotary Club, the Scioto Foundation, and Southern Ohio Medical Center.
 
“I’m very grateful to the lawyers and judges who volunteer their time and share their knowledge with our students. They are the key to the success of this event,” Price said. “Judge Harcha assists me in coordinating the event and I can’t thank him enough either. According to him, this year for perhaps the first time we had a U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of Ohio serving as a judge for our event as Judge Matthew McFarland agreed to be part of our District Mock Trial this year.”
 
For more information visit the South Central Ohio ESC online at www.scoesc.org, or follow on Facebook and Twitter.