A team from Overbrook High School won the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Mock Trial Competition yesterday.
Overbrook, which also captured the championship in 1997 and 2004, acted as the defense in the final round in Harrisburg, with runner-up Greensburg Salem High School of Westmoreland County as the prosecution.
Overbrook teacher Philip Beauchemin coaches the team of seniors Sarah Brown, Kiersten Harris-Andrews, Jamal Hill, Cedric Ingram Jr., Jennifer Josiaste, Lakyra Stokes, Tamika Webb and Ian Wiley. Josie Hyman is the lawyer adviser.
"They were quite thrilled," Beauchemin said. "They had a lot to learn very fast."
None of the students, whom he called "smart, talented kids," had been in the competition before. "They were all rookies," he said.
The team advanced to the national finals May 8-10 in Wilmington.
Pennsylvania has one of the largest competitions in the country, with 295 teams from 253 schools.
This year's fictional case involved an alleged kidnapping. The eight-member teams played the roles of lawyers, witnesses, prosecutors and defendants before Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin in a courtroom at the Dauphin County Courthouse.
Volunteer lawyers and community members served as jurors, judging the teams on their preparation, their arguments, and how they followed the rules of the court.
Earlier yesterday, Overbrook bested Devon Preparatory School of Chester County while Greensburg Salem beat Quigley Catholic High School of Beaver County. Greensburg Salem won state titles in 2001, 2005, 2006 and 2007.