On February 13, Menlo’s Varsity and JV teams headed into the Redwood City courthouse to compete in their respective County championship rounds.
The JV team put up a great fight against Hillsdale’s JV team, coming short of the Championship title by just a few points. Placing 2nd in San Mateo County against the defending JV Champions is a huge feat for Menlo’s JV team. With no JV team for the 2018-2019 season, every single individual on Menlo’s 2019-2020 team was a first year mock trialer!
In the nearby courtrooms, the Varsity team played Notre Dame Belmont. After a great two rounds where Menlo swept all 8 of the scoring ballots, Menlo was named the San Mateo County Champions for the tenth year in a row. In addition to earning them the County title, MMT’s prosecution and defense victories in the championship round marked the team’s 100th straight County win, a streak started during the 2010-2011 season.
Of note, Menlo also won their first “Courtroom Artist” title this year with sophomore Grace Tang taking 2nd place!
After the County competition, MMT began their rigorous preparations for the State tournament scheduled for March 19-22 in Los Angeles. However, due to concerns surrounding COVID-19, the Constitutional Rights Foundation made the difficult decision on March 11 to cancel the State tournament for the safety of the competitors, their families, and the volunteers. The governing body of the National High School Mock Trial competition quickly followed suit, cancelling the 2020 Nationals scheduled for early May in Indiana.
While MMT is disappointed that they will not be able to defend their State title this year, Menlo still had a fabulous season with their Varsity team going undefeated (5-0 at Providence, 10-0 at Norcals, 10-0 at County). And, to end on an even better note, what this also means is that MMT is the reigning California State Champion for (at least) another full year!
In mid-January, Menlo Mock Trial took the 10th Annual NorCal Mock Trial Invitational by storm with the Varsity team winning the Championship title and the JV team placing 12th overall!
Both the Varsity and JV teams played five great rounds against many of the top teams in California to kick off the CRF competition season. In addition to their team victories, MMT also racked up many individual awards across the Varsity and JV teams.
Pre-Trial awards: Ethan Yan (Varsity, 1st, Prosecution), Diya Baliga (Varsity, 1st, Defense), Helen Barkley (JV, 2nd, Defense), Alex Levitt (JV, 3rd, Prosecution). This is the first time in Menlo history that 4 pre-trialers have won awards. It is also the first time since 2013 that MMT’s Varsity pre-trialers have placed first on both sides, and the first time in Menlo history that the JV team has won a pre-trial award on both sides.
Witness awards: Mackenzie Ford (Varsity, 1st, Desi Kunstler), Emma McGaraghan (Varsity, 1st, Val Glick), Olivia Velten-Lomelin (Varsity, 2nd, Detective Micah Eisenberg), Alea Marks (JV, 1st, Dr. Jules Jackson), Tessa Frantz (JV, 2nd, Val Glick). Menlo’s Varsity team also won the highest ranking Prosecution witness team award (Mackenzie Ford, Olivia Velten-Lomelin, Annabelle Marenghi, and Libby Eggemeier) and the highest ranking Defense witness team award (Jacob Halabe, Meera Rajagopal, William Akis, Emma McGaraghan, and Mara Lebovitz). Finally, senior Emma McGaraghan made NorCal history in becoming the first witness ever to get 46/50 possible ranks, surpassing the previous record set by junior Mack Ford in 2019 for 43/50 ranks.
After a successful NorCal tournament, both the Varsity and JV teams geared up for their County competitions later in the month.
To close, Menlo Mock Trial would like to say a huge thank you to Stanford Mock Trial for co-hosting the Norcal tournament this year and, more specifically, to Thom Scher for doing a phenomenal job running the tournament.
Every year, the team and coaches vote on an MVP. The award is named in honor of Chris Lagod, the founder of the program. Former recipients include Andy Parker (2015), Annie Kim (2016), Colton Conley (2017), and Tiffany Tam (2018). This year’s winner is Ethan Yan.
Ethan Yan made his mock trial debut Freshman year as a varsity pretrial attorney for the prosecution. For both the 2018 and 2019 season, he was Menlo’s starting varsity pretrial attorney for the People. Despite only being a junior, Ethan Yan already has five awards in his name. At the Norcal competition over the past three years, he has received two 3rd place pretrialing awards (2017 and 2018) and one Honorable Mention for pretrialing (2019). At the County level, Ethan received an Honorable Mention for his pretrial performance in 2018, and in 2019, Ethan received a plaque for best pre-trial attorney in the County! At the 2019 Norcal competition in which MMT got 1st place, Ethan’s (along with varsity Defense pretrialer Ashli Jain’s) point contribution from their pretrial performance made the difference between winning and losing the Championship round.
In addition to his fantastic pretrialing skills and exquisite mastery of all pertinent Supreme Court cases from the past three CRF case packets, Ethan also dipped his feet into the trial attorney side of mock trial at the 2019 National Competition in Athens, Georgia. Ethan middled on both sides, directing and crossing both experts.
MMT would like to offer a huge congratulations to our 2019 MVP, Ethan Yan, and cannot wait to see what is in store for him next season!
After winning the State Championship in late March, MMT headed off to the National High School Mock Trial Championship in Athens, Georgia. Teams from all over the country, in addition to teams from South Korea, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, gathered in the UGA college town for a two-day long intensive mock trial tournament consisting of four scored rounds of competition. Unlike the County and State competitions where the festivities are limited to merely mock-trial related ones, the National Competition gives participating students many opportunities to engage with both each other and the case history itself. Students were able to participate in a pin-exchange, a Law Day hosted by the University of Georgia’s law school, and a night at the Georgia Theatre–one of the historical elements in the 2019 Nationals case.
At the National Competition, Menlo students participated in three scrimmage rounds–against Ohio, South Korea, and Mississippi–before starting the scored rounds. On the first day of competition, MMT played Florida in the first round and Nevada in the second round. On day two, MMT played Hawaii in the first round and Missouri in the second round. Menlo went 2-2, placing 22nd in the nation.
The National Competition marks the end of a fantastic season for MMT, who went undefeated through every round of Norcals, County, and States. Additionally, 2019 was the second year in all of Menlo Mock Trial history for Menlo to go to the National Competition. Can we make 2020 our third?