by Jamie Wershbale
Special to the Daily Record
The Florida Coastal School of Law Mock Trial Team is gearing up for a great new season. The team has incredible talent this year and is looking forward to bringing home big wins. The team has completed its annual Intramural Competition, and is ready to begin its external competition season.
Every year the team begins the season with an Intramural Competition. Without question, the 2008 Intramural was a great success. On Sept. 6, the newest members of Coastal’s Mock Trial Team competed at the Duval County Courthouse. Students competed in pairs, advocating for either the prosecution or the defense, in a high profile first-degree murder trial.
Competition was fierce and scores were very close, but a few student-advocates came out on top. The “Best Advocate Award” went to J. Kirby Mcdonough who was coached by Brittany Mauerberger and Jamie Wershbale. The “Best Prosecution Award” went to Tony Perkins and Molly Tandy, who were coached by Jessica Smagacz and Jeremiah Monahan. Daniel Martinez and Julienne Ferris won the “Best Defense Award” who were coached by Amanda Barton and Monelle Beal. Kelly Kobielush and Glenn Gaver also coached a strong team. On Sept. 13 in one final championship round, the “Best Prosecution” competed against the “Best Defense” in the Coastal courtroom. After an exciting trial, Ferris and Martinez won the title of “2008 Intramural Champions.” Tandy was the Championship Best Advocate.
Also giving strong performances in the intramural competition were Carla Adams, Bolanle Akinrimisi, Daniella Diaz, Alison Goldberg, Stephanie Khakpour, Clifford Klein, Matthew Meyers, Adriana Pampanas, Heath Vickers, and Christopher Warren.
The competition judges were comprised of Duval Circuit Court judges, state and federal prosecutors, and civil litigators, who all generously donated their Saturdays to judge the competition rounds. These judges included Circuit Judge Charles Arnold, Circuit Judge Jack Schemer, Fraz Ahmed, Mark Bajalia, Dineen Baker, Roger Dodd, London Hairston, Ronald Henry, Kathleen O’Malley, Julie Taylor and Lindsay Tygart. Mock Trial Vice-President in Charge of Intramural Competition, Jamie Wershbale, organized the event.
This coming season the team welcomes back returning members Amanda Barton, Monelle Beal, Glenn Gaver, James Graham, Deanna Hines, Kelly Kobielush, Kristine Kramp, Stephen Luongo, Brittany Mauerberger, Jeremiah Monahan, Leslie Raby, Jessica Smagacz, Sharlene Stanford, Jamie Wershbale, Alisa Wilkes, and Tiny Williams. The Coastal Mock Trial Faculty Advisor is former Assistant State Attorney Cathleen Arnold Talbot.
The new members, alongside the returning team, will be competing in four external competitions this fall semester. In October, the team will be traveling to the Stetson Pre-Trial Advocacy Competition, and in November, to the Buffalo-Niagara Mock Trial Competition, the Georgetown White Collar Crime Invitational, and the William Daniel Competition in Atlanta.
Throughout the year, the Coastal Mock Trial Team will need guest judges to preside and critique. Local attorneys and judges interested in getting involved with mock trial in this capacity may contact team president Jessica Smagacz at [email protected] or Faculty Advisor Cathleen Talbot at [email protected].