Springfield High School Repeats as State Champion

2015 State High School Mock Trial Champions

Members of the Springfield High School team celebrate after being awarded the 2015 championship trophy in the 35th Annual Tennessee State High School Mock Trial Competition. Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Bivins, who presided over the championship round, poses with the team. See other photos from the championship round.

All photos by Liz Todaro and Barry Kolar of the Tennessee Bar Association unless otherwise noted.


NASHVILLE, March 30, 2015 — The Springfield High School mock trial team repeated its championship win for the second year in a row at the 2015 Tennessee State High School Mock Competition this weekend in Nashville. Springfield defeated St. Mary’s Episcopal School of Memphis in the championship round. The team now will represent Tennessee at the National High School Mock Trial Competition May 14-16 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The two-day state competition, sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, involved 16 teams and 200 volunteers, including lawyers, law students and paralegals. In addition, sitting judges in the state presided over the trial rounds at the Metro Davidson County Courthouse in downtown Nashville. Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Bivins presided over the championship match Saturday evening.

The teams put their skills to the test arguing the fictitious case of State of Tennessee v. Elisha Lane. The scenario involved charges of vehicular homicide and reckless endangerment against a teenage driver, who may have been texting when a motorcycle rider is hit and killed. The case came down to discrepancies in eyewitness reports, physical evidence at the scene and the vehicle’s event data recorder. With students playing the role of attorneys and witnesses, including a disgruntled former Air Force pilot and a quirky town drunk, the competition provided numerous opportunities for participants to express their creativity, develop persuasive speaking skills and learn the basics of trial procedure.

To reach the state competition, each team had to win its respective district competition held throughout February.

At a ceremony immediately preceding the championship round, students were recognized for their efforts. TBA YLD President Rachel Moses, an attorney in the Cookeville office of Legal Aid of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, presented awards to the top 10 teams, the best lawyers and witnesses, the most valuable players for each team, and the team exhibiting the best sportsmanship-like behavior. The Sportsmanship Award was won by Ravenwood High School of Brentwood.


Top 10 Teams


2015 Mock Trial

1. Springfield High School, Springfield
Attorney Coach: Lisa Richter, 19th Judicial District Child Support Referee

2015 Mock Trial

2. St. Mary’s Episcopal School, Memphis
Attorney Coach: Betsy Weintraub, Attorney at Law

2015 Mock Trial

3. University School of Nashville, Nashville
Attorney Coach: Irwin Venick, Dobbins, Venick, Kuhn & Byassee

2015 Mock Trial

4. Ravenwood High School, Brentwood
Attorney Coach: Ben Rose, Law Offices of Ben M. Rose

2015 Mock Trial

5. Chattanooga SE TN Home Education Association (CSTHEA), Chattanooga
Attorney Coach: Hamilton County Chancellor Jeffrey Atherton

2015 Mock Trial

6. White Station High School, Memphis
Attorney Coach: Eugene “Buddy” Bernstein, Bernstein Law Office

2015 Mock Trial

7. Unicoi County High School, Erwin
Attorney Coaches: Sarah Shults & Lois Shults-Davis, both with Shults & Shults

2015 Mock Trial

8. Jefferson County High School, Dandridge
Faculty Coach: Chris Cogdill, Jefferson County High School

2015 Mock Trial

9. Montgomery Bell Academy, Nashville
Attorney Coach: Wade B. Cowan, Davies, Humphreys, Horton & Reese

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10. Memphis University School, Memphis
Attorney Coaches: Rhea Clift, Bartlett Municipal Court & Preston Battle

Other teams competing included:

Bearden High School, Knoxville
Attorney Coach: Tasha Blakney, Eldridge & Blakney

Clinton High School, Clinton
Attorney Coach: Alicia McMurray, Holland Law

Columbia Academy, Columbia
Attorney Coach: Shane McNeil, Tellus Law Firm

Dyersburg High School, Dyersburg
Attorney Coach: Sean Day, 29th Judicial District Public Defender's Office & Sarah Day

Signal Mountain High School, Signal Mountain
Attorney Coach: Charlie Poss, Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan

White County High School, Sparta
Attorney Coach: Cindy Howell Morgan, Law Office of Cindy Howell Morgan


Sportsmanship Award


Ravenwood High School took the Team Sportsmanship Award. The award recipient is based on the votes of other teams and presiding judges. The team is coached by Ben Rose, an attorney in Brentwood.


Individual Awards


2015 Mock Trial

Best Advocate for the Prosecution
1st Place: Anighya Crocker, Springfield High School (left)
2nd Place: Hannah Bloom, White Station High School (middle)
3rd Place: Swarna Sakshi, St. Mary’s Episcopal School, Memphis (right)
Individual photographs available on request

2015 Mock Trial

Best Advocate for the Defense
1st Place: Aaron Kaplan, Montgomery Bell Academy (left)
2nd Place: Caroline Rogers, Bearden High School (middle)
3rd Place: Jeremy Till, Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Home Education Association (CSTHEA) (right)
Individual photographs available on request

Best Witness for the Prosecution
1st Place: Paarsa Haque, St. Mary’s Episcopal School, Memphis (middle)
2nd Place: Akin Bruce, White Station High School (right)
3rd Place: Quviol Sherrod, Springfield High School (left)
Individual photographs available on request

2015 Mock Trial

Best Witness for the Defense
1st Place: Julian Young, Clinton High School (left)
2nd Place: Turner Bryant, Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Home Education Association (CSTHEA) (middle)
3rd Place: Dara Carney-Needleman, Unicoi County High School (right)
Individual photographs available on request


Team Most Valuable Players (MVPs)


2015 Mock Trial

Back Row (from left):
• Clay Andreen, Montgomery Bell Academy
• Stan Medlin, Dyersburg High School
• Stewart Love, Memphis University School

Front Row (from left):
• TBA YLD President Rachel Moses
• Karen Cooke, Chattanooga SE TN Home Education Association (CSTHEA)
• Kendell Hardison, Columbia Academy
• Marianne Dodson, Bearden High School
• Erin Moore, Jefferson County High School
• Austin Douglas, Clinton High School

2015 Mock Trial

From left:
• TBA YLD President Rachel Moses
• DeMarcus Miller, White Station High School
• Devon Kellett, University School of Nashville
• Carter Powers, Unicoi County High School
• Andrew Duncan, White County High School
• Emily Phillips, Signal Mountain High School
• Deaton Hildabrand, Ravenwood High School
• Katie Hieatt, St. Mary’s Episcopal School
• Maryellen Wooten, Springfield High School

Individual photographs available on request

See more photos from the award ceremony and from the championship round on the TBA's Mock Trial Drop Box Page.