Last weekend, Menlo Mock Trial was back in action at the 8th Annual NorCal Invitational. Not only did Menlo host the event, but also came away with the championship title and a program record haul of individual honors.
Menlo Varsity finished the tournament in 1st place, tying the record ballot total for any team at NorCal: 18.5/20 ballots. They opened the first two rounds with 4-0 sweeps against Miramonte and Justin-Siena. After qualifying for quarterfinals, the team beat last year’s State 2nd Place Squad Shasta by a 3.5-0.5 margin. In the semi-finals, Menlo was faced with a rematch of last year’s semi-finals and State 3rd Round against Tamalpais; the team defeated Tam for the 3rd time in a row, sweeping them 4-0. In the final, Menlo was faced against the defending NorCal Champions Trinity Pacific A; with all ballots razor close, Menlo finished with 2 wins and 2 ties, for a 3-1 championship round victory. Menlo now holds 4 NorCal Titles, the most of any school.
Individually, Menlo A wracked up the most individual awards it has ever received at NorCal.
- Pre-Trial Attorney: Ashli Jain (1st, Defense), and Ethan Yan (3rd, Prosecution). Ashli’s 1st Place in this category was the first since we took both spots in 2013.
- Trial Attorney: Makayla Conley (1st, Defense), and Tiffany Tam (2nd, Prosecution). Makayla earned Menlo’s first 1st Place in this category since we swept the category in 2014. This was also Tiffany’s 3rd NorCal Attorney Honor.
- Witness: Toni Rende (1st, Rodriguez), Rishi Varma (2nd, Moreno), Mara Lebovitz (2nd, Williams), Olivia Velten-Lomelin (3rd, Carroll), Ben Shaw (3rd, Davidson), and Melody Zhou (Honorable Mention, Bonderman). A remarkable 6/8 Varsity Witnesses earned honors.
- Support: Madeline Levin (1st Place, Clerk)
Menlo Junior Varsity finished the tournament in 11th place, with 10/20 ballots. The team lost a challenging first round matchup against 3-time NorCal Champion and #2 seed Tamalpais, before coming back to win a 4-0 sweep of #7 seed Elk Grove. Missing the quarterfinals by a tiny margin, the team went on to sweep Trinity Pacific B in the 3rd round, to lose a 1-3 decision to Venture Academy in the 4th round, and to lose a razor-close 1-3 decision to Prospect in the 5th round. Individual Honors went to Adley Vogel (2nd Place as Witness Bonderman), Surya Nathan (2nd Place Defense Pre-Trial), and William Akis (Witness Honorable Mention).
At the end of the tournament Menlo’s Head Coach Thom Scher was honored as Coach of the Year. Coaches from all teams attending took the floor as Tamalpais’s David Vogelstein presented him with the honor.
Menlo’s Varsity Squad remains undefeated on the season, its first ever time heading into county without losing a single trial round of competition at Providence or NorCal. After heading to Santa Barbara for a few friendly trials against some of the state’s best, MMT will return to action for the San Mateo County Competition. Both Varsity and JV will be defending titles, with JV seeking its 3rd in a row and Varsity seeking its 8th in a row along with a bid to the State Championships in Orange County.