The nationals are Jan. 17 and 18 at the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law at Arizona State University in Tempe.
The YSU team of Catie Carney of Poland, Ohio, and Jacob Schriner-Briggs of Liberty, Ohio, qualified for the nationals by winning the Midwest Regional Tournament in late November at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. The YSU team of Sean Varsho of Austintown, Ohio, and Mike Goldthwait of Liberty, Ohio, placed second and also will compete in the finals. The YSU students defeated teams from schools throughout the Midwest, including the University of Chicago and Case Western Reserve University.
“Few know what a tremendous accomplishment this is and how hard these students work,” said Ron Slipski, team coach, adjunct YSU professor and local attorney. “At the end of the championship round, our two teams were told by the nine judges and lawyers who served as judges, that they argued their case better than most lawyers can. I am so proud that this year’s team is carrying forward the success of the past few years.”
Earlier in November, at the Great Lakes Regional Tournament in Saginaw Mich., YSU student Melissa Wasser placed sixth in individual oratory and the freshman team of Andrik Massaro and Erik Glasgow finished in fifth place, qualifying them for the nationals as well.
At the competitions, students simulate presenting legal arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This is critical thinking and oral advocacy at the highest level possible at the undergraduate level, against the top schools in the nation,” Slipski said.
Schriner-Briggs said it was an honor to represent YSU. “Catie and I are thrilled to have won, but we also understand that our success is a culmination of the work of many, our coach and teammates primary among them,” he said.
In aIl, 17 YSU students competed in the Midwest tourney. In the individual oratory category, which included 80 competitors, the following YSU students placed in the top 20: Schriner-Briggs, fourth; Lindsey Harrison of Lordstown, Ohio, fifth; Phil Sarnowski of Poland, Ohio, 10th; Carney, 16th; Jen Reghetti of Warren, Ohio, 18th; and Goldthwait, 19th.
Other YSU competitors were Matt Stevens of Canfield, Ohio; Stephanie Ritchie of Youngstown, Ohio; Nick Ramsey of New Middletown, Ohio; Robert Miller of Vienna, Ohio; Angelina Sortina of Niles, Ohio; Donald Schuler of Youngstown, Ohio; Paul Price of Niles, Ohio.
Last year at nationals, YSU tied for the national champion in individual oratory and also took third in the nation in the category. YSU also placed a team into the final eight in the nation.
Slipski thanked teachers and members of the local legal community who helped the students prepare for the competitions, including Judge Gene Donofrio, Judge Mary Degenaro, attorneys Carla Bulford, Megan Graff, Charles Oldfield, Brian Honen, and Robert Budinsky, Professor J. Dean Carro, director of Appellate Advocacy at the University of Akron School of Law, and Marla Carano, YSU’s College in High School program coordinator.