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Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

Setting the competition on fire: GRC’s Mock Trial team win state runner-up

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GRC’s Black Mock Trial Team finished the year as state runner-up.

Would you burn down a house you inherited for 1 million dollars? That was the question GRC’s Mock Trial team tried to disprove in the state championships.

GRC’s Mock Trial Black team has now reset the history books by being the first team from GRC to ever make it to the state championship. Placing first runner up, Black team has now established GRC as a serious competitor. 

This year’s Mock Trial case followed an alleged arsonist named Dusty Lawrence who may or may not have burned down their great-grandmother’s house for insurance money. Each team represented had to alternate either prosecuting the arsonist or defending him. 

Scoring for Mock Trial is a little odd, at least to someone unfamiliar with the activity. Each trial has the possibility of winning 3 ballots, and with the state competition having 4 rounds, the highest possible score was a perfect 12.

However, no one at the state level got a perfect score. Going into the championship round, GRC Black team and Montgomery County’s Red team were tied with 9.5 ballots.

Zach Ross won All State Witness, Mallory Jones won All State Attorney, and Silas Coogle won Outstanding Witness in the final round.

Trying to win over the hearts of the eleven jury members during the championship round, Black team had the monumental task of defending Dusty Lawrence against GRC’s biggest rival.

In the end, Dusty Lawrence was found to be guilty of arson in the second degree. While this championship round may not have been victorious for GRC’s Black team, the team’s pride is insurmountable. 

“Making it to the state championship literally meant the world,” says senior Chloe Galloway. “Mock Trial is such a niche activity and this team has been so close for years and to be able to make it all the way with them was really special.”

The bond of Black team truly took them to the finals, with the team consisting of six seniors and two juniors. With each member having somewhere between 4-6 years of Mock Trial experience, this activity has been an integral part of their lives.

But that bond would have been nothing without the help of the coaches and sponsors. Logan and Amber Murphy, Camryn Arnold, and Sarah Mason were all huge supporters of the team, and assisted them in many ways.

“The best thing about coaching Mock Trial has been watching the students grow and learn,” says coach Logan Murphy. “I believe Mock Trial helps students gain valuable skills for college and beyond and I get a chance to help the students develop those skills. The kids make everything worth it.”

Having eight members on the team when there are 12 spots to be filled, most of the Black team had to do dual roles. The GRC Black team consists of: Silas Coogle, Chloe Galloway, Caroline Harper, Sydney Herringshaw, Mallory Jones, Baylee King, Keenan Robinson, and Zach Ross. 

Additionally, Mallory Jones was awarded an All State attorney award, Zach Ross was awarded an All State witness award for his portrayal of Dusty Lawrence, and Silas Coogle was awarded an Outstanding Witness award in the final round for his portrayal of fire analyst Cole Perry, earning the privilege of having his name a part of next year’s case. 

While GRC’s Black team got second place, there is no doubt that they truly set the state competition on fire. 


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About the Contributor
Zach Ross
Zach Ross, Features Editor
Once upon a time, a baby was introduced into the world. Fast forward 17 years, and you may find that this baby has grown into being a very talented, amazing, and awesome Features Editor. That baby grew up to be Zach Ross. In those 17 years of life, Zach has experienced the joys of dinosaurs, Broadway, Backyardigans, and Smoke Signals. And though he was once a baby, uncertain of the world ahead of him, he found a signal in the smoke and everything became clear. With every good story, there is a beginning and an end. The beginning was birth, and the end is Smoke Signals.

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    Teresa MaupinMar 6, 2024 at 11:34 am

    Excellent article.

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    Trena RossMar 5, 2024 at 11:43 am

    Great article! Couldn’t be prouder of our grandson Zach Ross. Awesome accomplishment for the black team!