Mock Trial wins state, again

Senior+team+member+Kenny+Cochran+portrayed+witness+Luiz+Montague+on+March+17%2C+during+the+mock+trial+state+competition.
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Mock Trial wins state, again

Senior team member Kenny Cochran portrayed witness Luiz Montague on March 17, during the mock trial state competition.

Senior team member Kenny Cochran portrayed witness Luiz Montague on March 17, during the mock trial state competition.

Senior team member Kenny Cochran portrayed witness Luiz Montague on March 17, during the mock trial state competition.

Senior team member Kenny Cochran portrayed witness Luiz Montague on March 17, during the mock trial state competition.

The Southerner

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Senior team member Kenny Cochran portrayed witness Luiz Montague on March 17 during the mock trial state competition.

BY KONADU AMOAKUH

The Grady High School mock trial team clinched its fourth consecutive state championship March 18, marking the first time that any team has won the Georgia competition four years in a row.

“It felt extraordinary,” said Brian Leahy, who has been the teacher-coach for the mock trial team for three years. “It wasn’t something I expected, but it was something I hoped and wished for.”

The competition began March 17 with 18 regional winners and two wildcard teams competing in two rounds each. After the first full day of competition, the Grady team found out it would progress to the semifinal round along with three other teams. Pitted against Atlanta International School in the final round, Grady won the state title and is currently preparing for the National Competition in Albuquerque, N.M.

The team members had worked hard for months to be able to win state, said Archie Kinnane, sophomore team member and witness at the state competition. Some team members didn’t feel as confident going into the competition as they had in previous years, Kinnane said.

“I felt like we could win, but I didn’t know if we were going to,” Kinnane said. “I was kind of surprised we won because we didn’t spend as much time preparing.”

The two-day state competition was suspenseful for the team, and while waiting for the results, senior team member Atiana Johnson said she and her teammates closed their eyes and held hands.

“The moment leading up to it you’re on pins and needles because you know you’ve done everything you can do, and you hope they call your school’s name,” Johnson said.

This fourth consecutive win was especially meaningful for seniors who had been on the team all four years of high school and can say they have always known what it was like to win a state championship, Leahy said.

“Apparently in ninth grade I told [our coach] I wanted to be a part of a team that won state all four years in a row, and I’ve accomplished that,” Johnson said.

The team credits much of its success to the support and cooperation of the team’s coaches and senior leaders.

“I feel really supported,” Kinnane said. “We’re like a big family, and it’s like everyone’s my parent.”

Leahy agrees that the family aspect is very important to the team.

“The closeness and the family atmosphere really make the team unique,” he said.

For some students, mock trial has been helpful in shaping their understanding about the law.

“I intend to go to law school, hopefully, and I want to be an attorney so it has helped me get a feel for whether I want to go into law,” Johnson said.

Though their most recent win is very exciting, members of the mock trial team know they still have a lot of work to do.

“We were all very proud and happy that it happened, but we understood that this was another step in us hopefully bringing a national title to Georgia,” Leahy said.

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