GPS Mock Trial Teams Make Impressive Runs

Fall short of advancing to state
This year’s three GPS Mock Trial teams made lasting impressions on their competitors. While trying Kat McNable v Marty Bird, all GPS teams—Avalanche, Hurricane, and Wildfire—were strong competitors through the first four rounds, with Wildfire advancing to the final four in the last round of the state qualifier. 
The case, McNable v Bird, involved a slip and fall on an electric scooter that allegedly hit sand that had fallen off the back of Bird’s party wagon, The Fine and Sandy. Kat, a dental model, lost her two front teeth in the incident and subsequently all of her dental modeling contracts. Bird offered to pay for her medical bills but then didn’t, so Kat sued for $5M. The question for the jury was Bird liable or was Kat’s speeding to blame?
The GPS sisterhood was out in full force as the team prepared for trial. Abbey Katelyn Pettus ’22 and Abigail Kueter ’22 worked with the girls before returning to college in January. Lauren Thacker ’22 read the problem from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and sent notes. Brianna House ’19, Kueter, and Pettus were in town for the competition to watch, take notes, and offer feedback. Last year, Olivia Combs ’19 lent her expertise and, in the summer of 2021, House made a recording for training the attorneys. 
Initially GPS had four teams but consolidated to three when students had scheduling conflicts. Two weeks prior to the Mock Trial competition, Hannah Grace Kornberg qualified for a substantial scholarship possibility at Washington and Lee and the college event happened to be the competition weekend, so Wildfire had to adjust by moving Gwyneth Parksup from Hurricane. Wildfire still maintained a 4-0 record going into the final. 
GPS Wildfire was ranked number one going into the final round. Wildfire expected to face a home school team in the final round that they defeated the night before.  “But because Signal had lost a round, that moved them to number four rank and GPS Wildfire was seeded against them.” Combs said.  GPS Wildfire and Signal Red were the main contenders and it was an unfortunate seeding considering only one of these teams could advance to State from that round. 
Ultimately, in a very close round that ended in a split decision, GPS Wildfire fell to Signal Mountain Red in the final trial; Judge Alex McVeagh said that this year marked the largest tournament Hamilton County had ever held and it’s the largest tournament in the state this year. 
Individually, GPS students received accolades including: Ebba Cox ’25, best attorney x2; Ella Brandon ’25, best witness x2; Lucie DeGaetano ’24, best witness x2; Abigail Carpenter ’24, best witness x2; Gwyneth Parks ’25, best attorney; Soleigh Kueter '26, best witness x2;  Lauren Hammontree ’23, best witness x2; and Lola Lawless ’26, best attorney x2. 
“All of the teams did a great job, learned a lot, were flexible and cool under pressure, and are looking forward to next year!” Combs said.

GPS Mock Trial teams are sponsored by GPS history teacher Dr. Steve Harrison and coached by former GPS parents Tammy Combs, U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Judge Brian House, and by GPS alumna and attorney Kathleen Siciliano ’11 with the law firm of Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel.