Articles & News 2009

Montoursville Area High School Advances to State Mock Trial Championships

1st row:  Ashley Confer, Ben Haas, Chris Bohlin, Samantha Johnson, Judge Richard Gray; 2nd row:  Dan Wright, Philip Moore, Josh Gleason, Brock Larson, Pat McNamara, Bret Southard.HARRISBURG (March 20, 2009) - The Montoursville Area High School Mock Trial Team is one of 12 Pennsylvania high school teams advancing to the 25th Annual Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Championships, Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28, at the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg. The winning team of the state championship will represent Pennsylvania in the national mock trial finals to be held May 6 - 10 in Atlanta, Ga.

The Montoursville High School Mock Trial Team also competed in last year's state championships.

"Students participating in these final rounds of competition are not only impressive but inspiring to watch," said Ryan Blazure of Kingston, chair of the association's Young Lawyers Division and co-chair of the Statewide Mock Trial Executive Committee. "To make it this far in the competition, the students must demonstrate excellent communication and analytical skills and the ability to work together as a team. There is no doubt that these students give it their all in attempts to be named '2009 Mock Trial Champions.'"

All 12 teams will compete in two quarterfinal rounds from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday. The four winning teams of the quarterfinal rounds will advance to the semifinal round at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. The state championship round will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday with Judge Thomas I. Vanaskie, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, presiding. This year, 316 teams from 267 schools competed in district and regional levels of Pennsylvania's mock trial competition - one of the largest in the nation. This year's fictional case centers on an employer's potential liability for the negligent actions of an employee.

During the competition, eight-member student teams are given the opportunity to argue both sides of the case in an actual courtroom before a judge. The students, who play the roles of lawyers, witnesses, plaintiffs and defendants, are assisted by teacher and lawyer coaches in preparing for competition. Volunteer lawyers and community leaders serve as jurors in the trials. The juries determine the winners in each trial based on the teams' abilities to prepare their cases, present arguments and follow court rules.

The Montoursville Area High School Mock Trial Team is composed of Chris Bohlin, Ashley Confer, Josh Gleason, Ben Haas, Samantha Johnson, Brock Larson, Pat McNamara and Philip Moore. The teacher coach is Dan Wright. Bret Southard is the lawyer coach.

The Pennsylvania Cable Network will record the final round of the competition for airing statewide on the following dates and times: April 3 at 7 p.m., April 4 at 5 p.m. and April 5 at 3 p.m. The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, is providing funding support for the broadcast. Also, DVDs of the final round will be available for purchase from the network's Web site at

For more information on the 2009 Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Championships, visit the PBA Web site at