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Central wins county mock trial for 11th time in 12 years

February 23, 2001|By RICHARD MONTENEGRO, Staff Writer

The dynastic Central Union High mock trial team captured its 11th Imperial County mock trial championship in 12 years with a win over Brawley Union High School during the final competition in El Centro on Thursday.

An elated Central teacher/coach Ron Nicholson said this morning, "You never lose a sense of excitement. You never lose the sense of what a big accomplishment this is. There's a lot of excitement here (Central) today.

"It's more exciting that we have this long winning record to defend," said Nicholson, who's team went undefeated this season with seven wins, including the finals.

Central will move into the state competition in Riverside on March 30, 31 and April 1. Central has placed in the top 10 among 35 to 40 schools nine of the 12 years it has competed. In 1998 Central captured the state crown. The team finished 12th last year.

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Nicholson said the quality of competition among the Valley school's this year will be an asset during the state competition. He said close matches have allowed his team to identify weaknesses and build upon strengths.

He added the local competition was some of the best he's ever seen, with a couple of Central's matches being decided by two or three points and some of the final school standings decided by only percentage points.

Nicholson said Central's team is not yet ready for state competition, but it will be.

"I think it's a very strong team and so does (attorney) coach Bill Lehman. He said we've got a lot of work to do to prepare for state," Nicholson said.

He added local attorneys such as Lehman, none of whom are paid for their time, ensure the success of the local mock trial programs.

For Central team members, Nicholson said, "I think Mr. Lehman is a role model. He's a role model for all volunteers in local schools."

During Thursday's final competition in Brunner's Restaurant in El Centro, Central Union acted as the prosecuting team while Brawley served as defense.

For Central the trial was argued by seniors Dominic Signorotti and Marc Manix. Signorotti presented closing arguments.

Brawley took second in the county competition with Calipatria High School coming in third, Holtville High fourth, and Imperial High fifth.

The final match was presided over by Imperial County Superior Court Judge Christopher Yeager, with local attorneys James K. Graves, Ronald E. Serna and Chris Yturralde serving as scorers.

Staff Writer Richard Montenegro can be reached at 337-3453.

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