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The Valwood Mock Trial team captured the Georgia Mock Trial 2022 Region 1 Championship after four rounds of head-to-head competition.
The 2022 competitions began virtually, for the second consecutive year, as a result of state-wide COVID-19 protocols, school officials said in a statement.
“We thought we were only going to have two virtual rounds,” Valwood Coach Daryn Beasley said, “but the omicron spike in January forced all 100-plus schools in the competition to move to an all-virtual region competition.”
In the first two rounds, Valwood defeated Thomas County Central and Lowndes High School. A series of unprecedented events then caused the merging of Valwood’s home region, Region 19, with Region 1, home to schools from Albany and Columbus.
The result of this merger was a two-round competition between eight schools, also including Deerfield Windsor, Brookstone School, Dougherty High, Wayne County High and Saint Anne Pacelli Catholic School.
Valwood emerged as region champions after two hard-fought trials, school officials said.
The Valiants were also awarded seven out of a possible eight individual awards.
Student attorneys Lilly Respess and Chesley Wetherington each won two Outstanding Attorney awards.
Ruby Parrish, Anabelle Melendez and Alex Gee each received an Outstanding Witness award.
“Lilly and Chesley are our team captains and three-year mock trial competitors and I am so very proud of their accomplishments and awed by their leadership of this team,” Beasley said.
Attorney Coaches Cathy Helms and Jeff Helms added in a statement, “While we have coached many very good teams, this one is extraordinary. The entire team continually strives to master the facts, law and rules of evidence. And they are continually encouraging each other and improving. We could not be more proud of them.”
The Valiants will compete the weekend of March 5 for the district championship, an honor they won last in 2019. The district championship will be decided in another two-round tournament involving six Georgia public and private schools.
The members of the Valwood Mock Trial team are seniors Anna Alvarado, Chloe Lynn Collins, Ruby Parrish, Lilly Respess, Lily Ward and Chesley Wetherington; juniors Audrey Ambron, Anabelle Melendez, Catherine Morris, Rouse Vallotton and Cat Moore; sophomores Alex Gee, Thomas Griner and Maggie Mays; freshmen Alberto Garcia, Sam Jordan, Christabel Ofori, Craig Shapiro and Hannah Ward.
They are coached by Daryn Beasley, Cathy Helms, Jeff Helms and Annelise Branham.