Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Sylvania Southview Wins Mock Trial Crown

Image of men, women, and students participating via video conference

Sylvania Southview High School wins the 2021 Ohio Mock Trial State Championship.

Image of men, women, and students participating via video conference

Sylvania Southview High School wins the 2021 Ohio Mock Trial State Championship.

The first virtual Ohio mock trial competition ended in victory for Sylvania Southview High School – its eighth state championship trophy.

“When they announced us as winners, it was surreal,” said Elayne Rusgo from the winning suburban Toledo team, which defeated Indian Hill High School near Cincinnati over the past weekend.

“As we screamed out, you could hear the echoes ring down the hallways of the University of Toledo law school. All we could do was smile,” Ms. Rusgo said.

“We had big shoes to fill and a legacy to continue,” said student Charlie Abowd. “We knew we had to push ourselves against such a great team as Indian Hill, going so far as changing our approach on closing arguments 30 minutes before the round started.”

More than 200 high school students representing 15 schools from across Ohio vied for the title of state champion, sponsored by the Ohio Supreme Court and hosted by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE).

“In a year where so many challenges faced us, we are extremely grateful that OCLRE and the programs across the state took up the torch to continue our mission of training young minds about the constitution and our judicial system,” said Denny Lyle, who coached the winning team.

Students appreciated taking part in the finals using remote technology.

“This was an experience like no other,” said student Denae Bumpus. “It required the same intense preparation, the same drama, but in a world more like a movie.”

The 2021 Ohio Mock Trial case took an inside look at the justice system by having students examine what prosecutors are required to disclose during plea negotiations.

The judges were Summit County Juvenile Court Judge Linda Teodosio and attorneys Velda Hofacker, Tammy Chavez, Jonathan Blanton, and Kara Keating.

“After all the sacrifice, after all the hard work, it’s special to hear your name called a champion,” student Amaan Omer said.

Sylvania Southview will represent Ohio at the National High School Mock Trial Championship hosted virtually by the Indiana Bar Foundation in Evansville, Indiana, on May 13-15.

“Three times a charm,” said student Tyler Thompson. “This will be my third trip to nationals and I’m hoping that we can do better than the past two top 10 finishes.”
In addition to the finalists, mock trial teams from these high schools advanced from district and regional competitions to compete at the state level:

Centerville (Montgomery County); Danville (Knox County); Dublin Jerome (Union County); Hilliard Davidson (Franklin County); Nordonia (Summit County); Notre Dame Cathedral Latin School (Geauga County); Orange (Cuyahoga County); Revere (Summit County); St. Edward (Cuyahoga County); Talawanda (Butler County); Upper Arlington (Franklin County); West Jefferson (Madison County); and Westerville North (Delaware County).

Ohio Mock Trial is a program of the OCLRE and is Ohio’s largest high school academic competition. More than 3,500 students participate each year and approximately 1,000 legal professionals volunteer to serve as judges, competition coordinators and team advisers.