The 2018-2019 season has been a year of overcoming adversity for Menlo Mock Trial. In May of 2018, Thom Scher resigned as head coach after a decade of working with the team. He is now the coach of Stanford Mock Trial, and just last year, led the team to a 3rd place victory at the national collegiate mock trial competition. Along with Thom, MMT’s 3 JV coaches resigned, along with 2 varsity coaches. Tracy Tefertiller, who has worked with MMT’s pretrial team for four years, stepped in as head coach.
In August, after a weekend of tryouts, 30 students were chosen for the JV and Varsity teams. After a number of scrimmages both internally and with Stanford Mock Trial, MMT traveled to Sacramento to scrimmage several of California’s top teams. Apart from a team-wide bout of food poisoning, this tournament was a success! Menlo then went into a 2-week long break filled with Tracy Tefertiller’s version of holiday fun (checkboxes and NorCal prep)!
Next up, NorCals. Former coach Thom Scher came back to run this annual, highly selective invitational tournament, hosted by Menlo and Trinity Pacific. Despite close competition and top-notch teams, Menlo defended their title as NorCal champions! Only a week later, the team hopped onto a 6-hour bus ride to sunny Santa Barbara. The annual tournament is held in the beautiful historic Santa Barbara courthouse where MMT had the chance to scrimmage a number of high ranked teams from Southern California and prepare for the county competition.
Just 4 days after returning, MMT entered into the Redwood City Courthouse for the first time in a year, ready to defend the title of County Champions. After 3 weeks of grueling competition with local teams (and a number of bad coughs and high fevers), Menlo made it to semis and just 2 days later stepped into the final round against Hillsdale. Menlo swept both semis and finals (6-0, 8-0). MMT is again the County Champions with a 90-0 win streak over the past 9 years!
Now Menlo is heading to the state competition in Sacramento. Wish us luck! 🙂
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), and Colton Conley (2017). This year’s winner, in a field with more nominated candidates than ever before, is senior Tiffany Tam.
Tiffany finishes her Menlo Mock Trial career as the single-most-awarded competitor to ever represent MMT, with the second-most cases representing MMT, and with one of the most dominant senior seasons of any competitor. She was on teams that won 2 Providence Titles, 1 NorCal Title, and 4 County Titles (a perfect 40-0); her teams ranked at the State Championship in 3/4 years.
As a freshman, Tiffany began as a Junior Varsity Opening Attorney, for which she won a NorCal Honorable Mention Award, and then performed as the Unofficial Timer on the 2015 State Team. As a sophomore, Tiffany was a Varsity Middle Attorney on the 2016 State Team, which made the final round. As a junior, Tiffany became only the fourth competitor for Menlo to earn the CRF Closing Attorney role before her senior year; she again earned Honorable Mention status at NorCal, then Honorable Mention status at County, and then Honorable Mention status at the Gladiator World Championships. In her Senior Season, Tiffany repeated as Prosecution Closer, where she received a 2nd place individual award at NorCal, a 1st Place County Award, and will again head to the Gladiator World Championships this summer. She performed as Prosecution Closer and Defense Opener for the State Championships.
Tiffany’s Senior County Performance was remarkably dominant, earning her the most award nominations of any competitor, for any role, in the history of San Mateo County. She also earned Menlo’s first individually perfect scored round of the 10-point era, and first ever perfect score for a trial attorney (County R1, 3 exams + closing, all 10/10). Tiffany hopes to continue mock trial for NYU come fall.
Menlo Mock Trial traveled to Orange County last weekend to compete in the CA State Championships. While the team went in with hopes of a State Championship, and the end result wasn’t as hoped, the MMT team had a strong performance regardless.
In the first round, Menlo had an unexpected loss to Gregori High of Stanislaus County. Coming off of that round, Menlo rattled off strong victories over Las Plumas (Butte County) and California (Contra Costa County). As the highest ranked 2-1 team in the tournament, the team was paired with Tamalpais; in a hard-fought and close rematch of the NorCal Semi-Finals Tamalpais came out on top before eventually winning the CA State Championship. With that loss, Menlo finished at 2-2 and in 14th place.
This round brings to a close a remarkable season for the MMT Varsity Crew; this team had two undefeated performances at Providence, an undefeated run through NorCal, and an undefeated run through County. Congratulations to Menlo’s graduating seniors: Tiffany Tam, Makayla Conley, Ben Shaw, Rishi Varma, Natalia Cordon, and Toni Rende.
Next up: Tiffany will represent Menlo one last time at the Gladiator Individual World Championships this summer, along with what is likely a small contingent from MMT.
Earlier this week, the San Mateo County Individual Awards were announced. Five Menlo students were honored:
- Tiffany Tam (c/o 2018): Tiffany received the Plaque Honor (the highest level honor from county) for her role as a Trial Attorney. This was Tiffany’s 2nd honor of the year, and 6th honor overall. She had previously been recognized three times as a NorCal Attorney (once earlier this season), once as a Gladiator World Championships Honorable Mention, and last season with a trial attorney honorable mention at County. Tiffany received a record number of county nominations, the most individual nominations for award-recognition of any competitor, in any role, in any year. Tiffany now is tied for the 2nd most awards received by any Menlo Mock Trial competitor in history.
- Makayla Conley (c/o 2018): Makayla was honored with a certificate of achievement, the 2nd highest level honor, for her role as a trial attorney. This is Makayla’s 2nd honor of the season, and 2nd overall. She was previously recognized with a 1st place defense trial attorney award at the NorCal Championship.s
- Ashli Jain (c/o 2019): Ashli was honored for her performance as a defense pre-trial attorney with an Honorable Mention. This was her 2nd award of the season, and her 4th award overall. She previously received 1st place for the role at the NorCal Championships, and was recognized last year at both the NorCal and County levels.
- Olivia Velten-Lomelin (c/o 2020): Olivia was honored for her performance as a witness, specifically Detective Carroll, with an Honorable Mention. This is Olivia’s second award for the role, and second overall. She earlier won recognition at the NorCal Championships with a 3rd place performance among witnesses in the role.
- Ethan Yan (c/o 2020): Ethan was honored for his performance as prosecution pre-trial attorney with an Honorable Mention. This was 2nd award for the role this year, and 3rd overall. Ethan has won recognition both this year and last year for his pre-trial performances at the NorCal Championship.
All five competitors will be back in action when Menlo represents San Mateo County at the State Championships in a few weeks.
Last week, Menlo Mock Trial successfully defended its San Mateo County Titles at both the JV and Varsity levels.
For the JV team, this was their 3rd County JV Title in a row, winning with a clean sweep over Hillsdale’s JV Squad in the JV Championship Round. The JV team extended its undefeated streak to 20 straight JV County Trials, dating back to the inception of the competition 3 years ago. The JV season comes to a close with this win.
For the Varsity team, this was their 8th County Title in a row (10th overall, and 10 of the last 11 years). With two trial victories over Hillsdale in the Championship Round, MMT extended its county win streak to a staggering 80 straight trials, a streak that begin during the 2010-2011 season. The Varsity team is also undefeated on the year, having won 28 straight trials (8-0 at Providence, 10-0 at NorCal, 10-0 at County). Menlo will carry that streak to the CA State Championships, held during March in Orange County.
Last night, Menlo’s Varsity Squad faced off against Mills High in an attempt to earn the right to defend its title in the San Mateo County Championship Trial. MMT was successful, and will move on to the Championship Trial tomorrow night.
Menlo won both trials, extending its county win streak to 78-0 (with the last loss coming in the 2010 Final Round). This year’s team is also undefeated on the season, extending its win streak to a perfect 26-0 (8-0 at Providence, 10-0 at NorCal, 8-0 thus far in County). This year’s Championship Trial will be against Hillsdale, who Menlo has faced every year that MMT has appeared in the final round with the exception of last year. Hillsdale earned its place in the Championship Round with a dominant performance over San Mateo. A true match of top teams, Thursday night’s final proves to be a battle with the right to represent San Mateo County at the State Championships on the line.
Next Up: Both JV and Varsity compete in their respective County Championships on Thursday, February 15th. Varsity will attempt to earn their 8th bid in a row to the CA State Championships.
Menlo Mock Trial competed in Round 3 of the San Mateo County Mock Trial Competition. MMT continues to remain undefeated as the team fights to defend their championship titles from last year. The Varsity team is also seeking its 8th bid in a row to the CA State Championship, held in Orange County later this year.
With wins in both Round 3 trials, Menlo JV remains in 1st place in the JV competition. Menlo JV has extended its all-time county undefeated streak to 18-0 (since the inception of the JV competition, in the 2016 season). And Menlo JV has earned the right to rematch vs Hillsdale JV in the first annual JV Final Round.
Varsity had two trials as well, winning both and sweeping all ballots. The prosecution beat Crystal Springs in a rematch of last year. The defense beat Aragon by a comfortable margin as well. Menlo’s Varsity Squad is in 1st place in the competition thus far in qualifying rounds, and has earned the right to play the North Division 2nd Place Team: Mills High. The Round 3 wins mean Menlo Varsity has extended its undefeated streak to a staggering 76-0, dating back to the 2010 County Finals.
Next up: Varsity competes in Semi-Finals on February 13th, hoping to earn a bid for the Final Round on 2/15/18; JV has earned its bid to the Final Round on the same day.
Earlier this week, Menlo Mock Trial competed in Round 2 of the San Mateo County Mock Trial Competition. MMT remains undefeated as the team fights to defend their championship titles from last year. The Varsity team is also seeking its 8th bid in a row to the CA State Championship, held in Orange County later this year.
JV had two trials, with both prosecution and defense playing Carlmont. The team swept all four ballots, and with this round in the books, Menlo JV remains in 1st place in the JV competition. The below wins mean Menlo JV has extended its all-time county undefeated streak to 16-0 (since the inception of the JV competition, in the 2016 season).
- Menlo JV vs Carlmont JV – Ballot 1: Menlo wins 160 to 150
- Menlo JV vsCarlmont JV – Ballot 2: Menlo wins 148 to 137
- Carlmont JV vs Menlo JV – Ballot 1: Menlo wins 140 to 134
- Carlmont JV vs Menlo JV – Ballot 2: Menlo wins 138 to 125
Varsity had two trials as well, winning both and sweeping all ballots. The prosecution beat Carlmont by a margin greater than that allowed in the competition, and in doing so earned the most points possible for the team’s effort to qualify for elimination rounds; one ballot had the largest winning margin of any prosecution team thus far in the competition. The defense beat Serra by a comfortable margin as well. Menlo’s Varsity Squad is in 1st place in the competition thus far in qualifying rounds, and with two teams from the division qualifying for playoffs is comfortably seated with the largest gap over 3rd place since 2013. The Round 2 wins mean Menlo Varsity has extended its undefeated streak to a staggering 74-0, dating back to the 2010 County Finals.
- Menlo vs Carlmont – Ballot 1: Menlo wins 160 to 135
- Menlo vsCarlmont – Ballot 2: Menlo wins 137 to 121
- Serra vs. Menlo – Ballot 1: Menlo wins 139 to 133
- Serra vs. Menlo – Ballot 2: Menlo wins 140 to 122
Next up: Menlo’s two teams will be back in action on Thursday February 8th for the final round of preliminary trials. Varsity is seeking bids to the semi-final round, and JV is seeking bids to the final round.
Earlier this week, Menlo entered the San Mateo County Competition. Both teams, Varsity & JV, are fighting to defend their championship titles from last year. The Varsity team is also seeking a bid to the CA State Championship, in Orange County later this year.
JV opened the tournament with its prosecution facing Aragon’s JV squad, and its defense facing Hillsdale’s JV squad. The team won both rounds, including a sweep of all ballots. Menlo JV’s Prosecution had 2 of the 3 largest ballot wins thus far this in county competition (JV or Varsity), and Menlo JV’s Defense had one ballot with the highest total score thus far in county competition (JV or Varsity). After this round, Menlo JV is in 1st place in the JV competition. The below wins mean Menlo JV has extended its all-time undefeated streak to 14-0 (since the inception of the JV competition, in the 2016 season).
- Menlo JV vs Aragon JV – Ballot 1: Menlo wins 150 to 116
- Menlo JV vs Aragon JV – Ballot 2: Menlo wins 136 to 106
- Hillsdale JV vs Menlo JV – Ballot 1: Menlo wins 172 to 160
- Hillsdale JV vs Menlo JV – Ballot 2: Menlo wins 145 to 141
Varsity opened the tournament with its prosecution facing Burlingame, and its defense facing Notre Dame. The team won both rounds as well, including a sweep of all ballots. Menlo’s defense won one ballot by the largest margin thus far in the Varsity Competition. Tiffany Tam — having quite the season thus far — led the effort by perfect scoring both prosecution ballots individually. Menlo’s Varsity Squad is in 1st place in the competition thus far in qualifying rounds. The below wins mean Menlo Varsity has extended its undefeated streak to a staggering 72-0, dating back to the 2010 County Finals.
- Menlo vs Burlingame – Ballot 1: Menlo wins 164 to 150
- Menlo vs Burlingame – Ballot 2: Menlo wins 163 to 162
- Notre Dame vs. Menlo – Ballot 1: Menlo wins 158 to 125
- Notre Dame vs. Menlo – Ballot 2: Menlo wins 155 to 152
Next up: Menlo’s two teams will be back in action on Thursday February 1st for Round 2 of County Competition. JV will face Carlmont on both sides, and Varsity will face Carlmont and Serra.
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.