Team to compete in national Mock Trial tourney _lowres

Photo provided by Hollis Milton -- The West Feliciana High School Mock Trial team won second place at both the Region III and State High School Mock Trial competitions Feb. 26-27 and March 12, respectively. Mock Trial members in front row, from left, include Fiona Tully, Catherine McKinney and Bailey Casteel; and back row, teacher-coach Torrence Williams, Emma Beauchamp, time keeper Maggie Higgins, attorney-coach Luke Williamson, Landry Higgins, Adam Broussard, Ruby Roberg, Zoe Williamson and teacher-coach Amy Geiger.

A team from West Feliciana High School was runner-up at the Mock Trial state championships but will compete in the national tournament in Boise, Idaho, in May.

One of Zachary High’s teams actually won the 2016 Louisiana State Bar Association High School Mock Trial Tournament held in Baton Rouge on March 12 but won’t compete in the nationals because of a conflict with the school’s graduation ceremony and all of its winning team members being seniors.

Rules stipulate that if the champion team can’t compete in the nationals, the runner-up is invited. West Feliciana finished runner-up to Zachary High out of 22 teams in the Region 3 tournament and again as runner-up to Zachary out of eight teams at the state competition.

The National High School Mock Trial Tournament features champion teams from all 50 states and championship teams from South Korea and the Northern Mariana Islands.

The West Feliciana team is coached by teachers Amy Geiger and Torrence Williams and attorneys Doug Stewart and Luke Williamson.

“Most of my team can’t go because of our graduation, and we had to replace them with underclassmen,” Geiger said. “We’re in a similar to position to Zachary, but we’ve got team members who can go.”

Geiger and Torrence have been coaching the Mock Trial team for three years, and this year’s state runner-up is its best finish. Senior Catherine McKinney won the Outstanding Attorney award for the state and received a plaque. She won’t be able to attend the nationals.

West Feliciana’s team will leave May 10 and return May 15. The actual event is May 13-14, but the members will leave early to participate in some preliminary activities and to scrimmage against other teams.

“It’s a great opportunity for our kids to meet kids from across the country and learn about Mock Trial,” Geiger said. “The team that will go is filled with freshmen and sophomores, and this will be an invaluable experience for them.”

The team will pay for its trip with assistance from the Louisiana Bar Association and through fundraising. It’s selling raffle tickets to win a PitBit. Email Geiger at geigera@wfsb.org for tickets or to help the team defray costs. The drawing will be held May 5.

“We have incredibly dedicated kids, and they will do their best to be as prepared as they can be,” Geiger said. “I feel badly for our seniors, but this is a great opportunity for some of the younger kids to step up and compete.”