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Quigley wins state's student mock trial competition; Greensburg Salem is second

| Saturday, March 23, 2013, 4:33 p.m.

Quigley Catholic in Baden may be tiny compared to other high schools, but at this year's statewide Mock Trial Competition, it proved that it is powerhouse.

On Saturday, the Beaver County school defeated Greensburg Salem High School to win the 30th annual High School Mock Trial Competition sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

“We've got a long tradition of winning this competition, and today we just kept perpetuating it,” the team's coach, Timothy Waxenfelter, said Saturday.

He teaches social studies and English at the school, which enrolls 150 students.

“Our team is made up of a magnificent group of students who worked very, very hard for this. It's not unusual for them to spend four or five hours on a Sunday to prepare. We're very proud of them,” Waxenfelter said.

The team is composed of seniors Nicholas Core, John Hrechun, Jarek Ingros, Kaye Burnet and Shelby Wasil, who are all 18; junior Anthony Kuntz, 16; freshman Thomas Belsterling and sophomore George Burnet, both 15.

Attorney Ahmed Aziz serves as the team's legal adviser.

Quigley claimed the competition's state title in 1990, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000 and 2002.

In all, 311 teams entered the competition. District and regional competitions narrowed the field to 12 teams that competed in quarterfinal rounds on Friday.

In Saturday's final round at the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg, Quigley, which played the role of the defense, squared off against a prosecution team from Greensburg Salem in Westmoreland County.

In the hypothetical case, a jury was asked to determine if the developer of an urban renewal project is responsible for a crane collapse that killed two people.

“To achieve this level of success in the competition, students must have invested many hours in trial preparation and then have demonstrated outstanding presentation and critical-thinking skills in front of real-life judges, lawyers and business professionals,” said Jacob A. Gurwitz of Reading, who chairs the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.

Quigley will represent Pennsylvania in the National High School Mock Trial Championship scheduled for May 9 to 11 in Indianapolis.

Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or tlarussa@tribweb.com.

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