Kalamazoo Central High School's mock trial team placed first in regional competition Saturday and has qualified for the state tournament on March 23 in Lansing. K-Central placed first in all three rounds of competition. Forest Hills Northern was second and St. Joseph High School was third. Saturday's competition was held at the Kent County Courthouse in Grand Rapids.
The Kalamaazoo Central team is comprised of seniors Jane Fisher and Sabrina Hirsch; juniors Amanda Sidwell, Olivia Hodge, Alana Labelle-Hahn and Karanjit Sohi; sophomores Isaac Bertman, Sarah Ghazal, Abudit Rai and Katherine McKibbon, and freshman Zjalyn Carter.
Francis Bilancio is head coach; Becket Jones is attorney coach, and assisant coaches are Gavin Thole andMaggie Teutsch, who are both former mock trial members.
Central's mock trial team placed second in the state last year. The team has won 17 state titles since it was formed in 1986. The team won the national championship in 1996 and placed second in the nation for three consecutive years, 2006-08.
The mock trial tournament is organized and conducted by the Michigan Center for Civic Education. Students take on the roles of attorneys and witnesses and compete against other schools in real courtrooms in front of real judges and lawyers. But while the students take on roles, there is no set script. As in a debate, participants must adjust to the strategies employed by the opposing side.