Agathos Classical School of Columbia, Tennessee, in its third year with a mock trial program and with only 36 students in its high school, recently finished the year completely undefeated and ranked third in the nation. Agathos won each of its trials in the regional competition in Franklin, the state competition in Nashville, and took third in the nation at the national competition in Reno, Nevada on May 11-12, defeating Georgia (2007 and 2008 National Champions), Nevada, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina (reigning national champions).
Top 10 standings at the 2018 National Mock Trial Competition:
(1) Washington (5-0, undefeated)
(2) Minnesota (4-1)
(3) Tennessee — Agathos (4-0, undefeated)
(4) Georgia (3-1, defeated by Agathos)
(5) Michigan (3-1)
(6) North Carolina (3-1, defeated by Agathos)
(7) Ohio (3-1)
(8) Massachusetts (3-1)
(9) Utah (3-1)
(10) New Jersey (3-1)
“How could the Agathos team be undefeated and place 3rd?” Of significance, out of 46 teams in the national competition, only Agathos (Tennessee), Minnesota, and Washington were undefeated after four rounds (trials) and before the final round at nationals. Due to tiebreaker rules that did not take into account strength of schedule, and after having faced and defeated three of the top 11 teams (GA-4, PA-11, and NC-6) in power-paired rounds, and even though the top two teams only faced one top ten school each, Agathos was denied a chance at the final championship round at the nationals, leaving the team in third place. After Washington went on to defeat Minnesota, Agathos and Washington remain the only two undefeated mock trial teams in the country for 2018. Agathos ended its season 13-0 (regional, state, and national trials).
Agathos won 6th and 5th in the Tennessee state mock trial finals in 2016 and 17, respectively, winning the state championship for 2018.
Agathos was also awarded numerous individual awards in its three-year program history:
2018: Luke Worsham — Best Advocate, Nationals;
2018: Luke Worsham — Best Plaintiff Advocate, State;
2018: Samuel Whatley — Second Best Defense Witness, State;
2018: Luke Worsham — Best Advocate, Regionals;
2018: Ella Seago — Third Best Advocate, Regionals;
2018: Josiah Burns — Best Advocate, Honorable Mention, Regionals;
2017: Luke Worsham — Best Prosecution Advocate, State;
2017: Luke Worsham — Best Advocate, Regionals;
2017: Luke Epley — Best Witness, Regionals;
2017: Carter Powers — Best Witness, Honorable Mention, Regionals;
2016: Luke Worsham — Second Best Advocate, State;
2016: Luke Worsham — Best Advocate, Regionals; and
2016: Luke Epley — Best Witness, Regionals.
The 2018 Agathos national mock trial team members are as follows: Luke Worsham (Senior), Josiah Burns (Junior), Ella Seago (Sophomore), Luke Epley (Junior), Fern Greene (Junior), Samuel Whatley (Junior), Asher Black (Sophomore), Rebekah Epley (Freshman), Levi Pettit (Sophomore), Matthew Whatley (Freshman), and Ethan Seago (Senior).
Other persons associated with the team include:
S. Jason Whatley, Attorney Coach;
Cory L. Ricci; Attorney Coach;
Ted Trainor, Headmaster, Agathos;
Jenn Burns, Vice Principal of Academic Affairs, Agathos;
Grant Kelley, Rhetoric Teacher and Coach, Agathos; and
Laura Powers, Academic Sponsor, Agathos.
The Agathos Classical Mock Trial Team especially thanks the Williamson and Maury County Bar Associations for their continued devotion to high school mock trial in the Southern Middle Tennessee area. The team further expresses sincere gratitude for the overwhelming outpouring of support and well-wishes from the good citizens and leaders of our two counties. The Agathos students, faculty, administration, and families count it one of the highest honors possible to have represented the great State of Tennessee in this very worthy endeavor.
S. Jason Whatley and Cory L. Ricci, Attorney coaches
Heading to State Mock Trial 2017
Agathos Warriors Place 6th at State Mock Trial 2016
Agathos Classical School’s inaugural team placed sixth in the Tennessee Bar Association’s 36th annual mock trial championship in Nashville, March 18-19. Sixteen high school teams reached the state championship by winning district competitions, in which they played the roles of attorneys and witnesses. Each team represented both the prosecution and the defense in a fictitious case developed by the TBA’s Young Lawyers Division.
Agathos’ entire student body lined up to wave and cheer as the Mock Trial team left campus for State. After four rounds of intense competition over two days, an awards ceremony was held in the ballroom of the downtown Doubletree Hotel. Two Agathos students won individual recognition. Freshman attorney Josiah Burns was named MVP and sophomore Luke Worsham was honored with 2nd Best Attorney for the Plaintiff.
The team was thrilled with their debut performance and quick to credit others. “Just five months ago, Cory Ricci, one of our attorney coaches, taught us what a leading question is. Now, we’re sixth in the state,” observed Worsham. “It really is a testament to both God’s blessings and guidance of our team” and to our coaches. “We wouldn’t have won anything without their counseling and guidance.”
Coach Whatley couldn’t be more proud. “There were schools in the competition that were literally one hundred times the size of ours. These students, all very young, did more and went further than anyone thought they could. We are so proud of them and looking forward to making a run for the state title next year.”
Montgomery Bell Academy won the State Mock Trial Championship over second place Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Home Education Association (CSTHEA.) The following schools also participated at this year’s state competition: Unicoi County High School, Erwin, Jefferson Co. High School, Dandridge, Clinton High School, Clinton, McCallie School, Chattanooga, Beech High School, Hendersonville, Pope John Paul II, Hendersonville, Eagleville High School, Eagleville, Harpeth Hall, Nashville, Ravenwood High School, Brentwood, Dyersburg High School, Dyersburg, Home Life Academy, Jackson, St. Mary’s Episcopal School, Memphis, and White Station High School, Memphis.
Underdog Warriors Head to State Mock Trial
Co-coached by local attorneys, Mr. Jason Whatley and Mr. Cory Ricci, the rookie squad was comprised of attorneys Luke Worsham-10th, Ethan Seago-10th, and Josiah Burns-9th, and witnesses Luke Epley-9th, Samuel Whatley-9th, Micah Willoughby-9th, Adrianna Baena-9th, Carter Powers-10th, Grace Masters-10th, Matthew Whatley-7th, and Jake Trainor-11th. Advisors included Mrs. Sharoon Babcock- Speech Coach and Mr. Grant Kelly Rhetoric Coach.
This year’s contest, sponsored by the TN State Bar Association, is based on a fictional civil case regarding a horse trailer fire. Teams compete in front of a jury of practicing attorneys and circuit court judges who collaborate to score each team on its performance according to set standards. “I especially appreciate the judges and lawyers who heard our cases,” expressed Coach Whatley. “It was a complete honor to be paired against some of the best mock trial programs in the state.”
“It was a complete honor to be paired against some of the best mock trial programs in the state.”
Grateful for their coaching and recent success, the Agathos Warriors are again working diligently to prepare for State Mock Trial on March 18th-19th in Nashville, where they will compete against the top teams from Tennessee’s 14 regional districts. Head of School Ted Trainor concluded, “We are so grateful for the investment made in the lives of our students from the legal community. From our local attorney coaches to those involved at the regional level, this competition has been an encouraging experience. As the Bible teaches, we become like our teachers. In this sense, the adults involved in mentoring the students throughout this competition have been nothing short of amazing. Thus, I know I speak for the team when I say that we earnestly hope to continue to represent those mentors, our school, and region well in the State competition. And as a Christian school, we sincerely hope to honor the Lord in all that we do along the way.”