Mock Trial Wins State Championship in Sacramento

Menlo+Mock+Trial+poses+for+a+photo+after+state+championship+win.+Photo+courtesy+of+Dicky+Yan.
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Mock Trial Wins State Championship in Sacramento

Menlo Mock Trial poses for a photo after state championship win. Photo courtesy of Dicky Yan.

Menlo Mock Trial poses for a photo after state championship win. Photo courtesy of Dicky Yan.

Menlo Mock Trial poses for a photo after state championship win. Photo courtesy of Dicky Yan.

Menlo Mock Trial poses for a photo after state championship win. Photo courtesy of Dicky Yan.

Adley Vogel, Staff Writer

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After a season of rebuilding, the Menlo Mock Trial team beat Shasta High School to become the California State champions, on Sunday Mar. 24, and will be representing the state in the national tournament in May. “It was the best Mock [season] of my life,” junior attorney Meredith Fenyo said. “We adapted from round to round and performed when it really counted.”

The team came into the tournament with tempered expectations, as this was their first season with a revamped coaching staff after the unexpected departure of previous head coach Thom Scher. “Going in, we were in essence the underdog,” senior pretrial attorney Ashli Jain said. But Fenyo said that this fact may have contributed to their success. “We weren’t trying to defend a legacy and didn’t have anyone to disappoint besides ourselves,” Fenyo said. “It allowed us to keep a level head through the entire thing.”

The team won their first three rounds cleanly, then advanced to the semifinals against Venture Academy, where they found another win with the help of junior witness Olivia Velten-Lomelin and senior prosecution attorney Luke Arnold. Velten-Lomelin gave a powerful direct examination, and Arnold gave strong closing remarks to clinch the round and send the team to the finals against Shasta High School. In the finals, sophomore witness Will Akis turned his cross examination by the opposing team into “another direct [examination],” junior prosecution attorney Caleb Julian-Kwong said. The finals were close, but in the end Menlo scraped out the win to become the state champions. “The feeling was unreal,” Julian-Kwong said. “It was the result of so much work from everybody on the team. I’m so proud of them all.”

In May the team will head to Georgia to compete in nationals, where Menlo has never won a title. The team is bringing with them the same tempered expectations they had going into states, and they hope to find another first place finish in Georgia.