Earlier this month, MMT competed at the second annual Gladiator One-on-One Mock Trial Tournament in Newport Beach where they took home the championship trophy.
The Gladiator Tournament is the world’s only one-on-one high school mock trial competition, and Menlo School was well represented with three competitors out of a field of 40 from around the globe. The field comprised numerous prior state, national, and world champions competing for the title of best individual mock trial competitor in the world. Menlo’s participants included Andy Parker ’16, Colton Conley ’17, and Lee Fisher ’17; the group was coached by Thom Scher.
The Gladiator Tournament, now in its second year, features five grueling rounds, pitting the best competitors head-to-head against one another. To prepare, Menlo students practiced daily for four weeks starting at the beginning of summer in anticipation of the demanding two-day schedule. Over the four weeks, the team was supported by additional coaches, MMT alumni, other teammates, and community volunteers.
After finishing as a runner up last year, Andy returned to the championship trial and won by a 6-1 margin in the championship round. Lee finished ninth, and Colton—also returning for his second year—finished 11th while being recognized with the third best attorney performance in the entire tournament. Both Lee and Colton finished with winning records and special recognition at the awards ceremony.
The case this year was named People v. Parker Jones, named in honor of last year’s two finalists (Menlo’s Andy Parker and Santa Susana’s Megan Jones); the witness characters were Emory Winkle and Tatum Scher, named in honor of the head coaches from Trinity Pacific and Menlo School (Sarah Winkle and Thom Scher). In a fun turn of events, this setup a final round where Andy had to defend a client with his own name, and direct a witness with his coach’s name.
The Gladiator results continue Menlo School’s reputation as one of the top mock trial programs in the country. The team is the six-time defending San Mateo County Champion, where they have not lost a round of competition in six years. Menlo’s team is the only team in California to receive a statewide ranking for the last five years in a row, and they finished second in California in 2015. The program features a JV and Varsity team, each coached by a crew of volunteer professionals who dedicate hundreds of hours each year.