Gladiator World Championship 2020

Written by Ethan Yan, a Menlo ’20 graduate and current Freshman at Yale University.

On July 24-26, 2020, a small group of Menlo Mock Trialers competed at the 6th Annual Gladiator 1-on-1 Mock Trial World Championship. This highly demanding individual competition requires students to perform as a witness and attorney on both the Prosecution and Defense, with only three weeks to prepare. This year’s tournament revolved around a fictional criminal case based on the documentary Tiger King. Although the competitors were unable to travel to Southern California due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Zoom-based trials did introduce new aspects to the competition.

For starters, MMT’s two competitors, Meredith Fenyo ‘20 and Madeline Levin ’21, were assisted by co-counsels Maya Julian-Kwong ‘22 and Jackson Kunde ‘21, respectively. Maya and Jackson were responsible for displaying demonstrative aids and exhibits—including videos not normally seen during Gladiator competitions.

Amongst a reduced and thus even more competitive field, Meredith and Madeline made their mark. In her first ever competitive round as a witness, Meredith won all four of her ballots by a 3-0 margin while portraying FBI Agent Steph Branham, becoming the only competitor to perfect score any round in the entire competition. She followed up this astounding start with three strong performances—including a 5-2 victory on average as a Defense attorney—to secure a spot in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, Madeline won all four of her preliminary rounds—including a 6.2-0.8 victory on average as a Prosecution attorney. Her strong performances not only gave her the top seed heading into semi-finals, but also earned her recognition for the top opening statements (in a seven-way tie) and best objections (in a two-way tie).

While MMT had a strong record at prior Gladiator competitions—including victories by Andy Parker in 2016 and Tiffany Tam in 2018—this year marked the first time that two MMT competitors had advanced to the semi-finals. Incidentally, the two former co-counsel faced each other, with Madeline advancing to the finals and finishing as the runner-up in a close final round against Ethan Marx from Indian Hill High School, Ohio.

The Menlo Mock Trial Program could not be prouder of both Meredith and Madeline for their incredibly impressive performances. We would like to thank everyone who contributed to their preparation: Maya and Jackson for their hard work and support; MMT Coach Liz Grant for her immense dedication and countless hours of guidance; and members of the Stanford and Menlo Mock Trial teams who provided valuable feedback during the intense preparation period.

We wish both Meredith and Madeline the best of luck in their upcoming Mock Trial endeavors, confident in their futures and proud to have them representing our team.

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