Erin Blasko | February 21, 2019
Five miles separate Clay and John Adams high schools in South Bend. But when it comes to mock trial, the two public high schools, both part of the South Bend Community School Corp., have been worlds apart for most of the past two decades.
Adams, an international baccalaureate magnet school, has won 18 state championships and two national championships in 18 years.
Clay, a visual and performing arts magnet school, has never advanced past regionals, and until last year, went three years without a win at any level of competition.
But things are changing.
Thanks, in part, to head coach Henry Leaman, a second-year Law School student at the University of Notre Dame, Clay went 2-4 in regional competition last year and nearly advanced to state for the first time in school history.
This despite a shorthanded coaching staff composed of Leaman, the only full-time coach with any legal experience; two local attorneys; a faculty sponsor with no legal experience; and a Notre Dame undergraduate with mock trial experience.
“We went into the final round with our destiny in our hands,” said Leaman, a native of St. Charles, Illinois, outside Chicago. “If we had split the round, we would have gone to state. We lost by minus-2 points on each ballot.
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