Northwood's Mock Trial Teams Excel at National Championship Tournament

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Northwood University's (NU) Mock Trial Teams competed at the National Championship Tournament (NCT) April 13-15 in the Twin Cities of Minnesota.

Northwood University Mock Trial Team 2012-2013
Back row (l-r): Nathaniel Breznau, Myisha Ishmeal, Terrence Green, Imasha Hrindhu Fernando, Patrick Wixson, Katie West, T.C. Sample.
Front row (l-r): Vince Davis, Ibrahim Lawton, Nikita Setia, Amanda Riley, Meghan Ewald, Matthew Williams, John Hardison, Jonathon Spagnuolo, Aaron Grace, Stephanie Hentschel, Andrew Lemek, Yancy Cobb (Paige Buckley missing from photo).

MIDLAND, MI – Northwood University’s (NU) Mock Trial Teams competed at the National Championship Tournament (NCT) April 13-15 in the Twin Cities of Minnesota (Minneapolis/St. Paul).

Only 48 teams (out of 655 which participated this season) were selected to compete at the NCT. The parity in the strength is so close that splitting rounds is more common than winning rounds. In fact, Duke University became the 2012 champion when they won the final round on a split decision.

The 48 teams were separated into two divisions with an equal number of teams for the first four rounds/trials. Only five schools were able to qualify two teams to participate in the NCT—Harvard University, University of California-Berkeley, Northwood University, Miami University and Loyola University-Chicago. When a school qualifies two teams under the 2012 American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) rules, the school's two teams are required to compete in separate divisions.

One Northwood team started out narrowly losing to Brown University in the first trial and Rhodes College in the second but finished strong by winning their third trial against Miami University and their final trial against University of California-Berkeley. Their overall record qualified that Northwood team for an Honorable Mention as a part of the top 13 teams in their division.

The Northwood team in the other division won their opening round against the University of Michigan and their second round against the University of Virginia but lost their third round on split ballots against Eastern Kentucky University (EKU)—one judge identified Northwood as the winner and the other identified EKU as the winner by a margin that was three points higher. This Northwood team went into the final round against Harvard University in contention for a trophy until they narrowly lost that final round by 4 points on one of the ballots and 12 points on the other (out of a possible 140 points per ballot).

In addition to the team’s success, three Northwood students won individual awards. More than 4,000 students participated in collegiate mock trial this academic year. Only students who earn the right to compete on one of the 48 teams at the NCT can earn one of the coveted All-American Awards reserved for less than one percent of students participating in mock trial nationwide. Three Northwood students earned these awards. Seniors John Hardison of Farmington Hills and Patrick Wixson of Shelby Township each earned an All-American Attorney Award. Junior Yancy Cobb of Detroit earned an All-American Witness Award.

Professor DeLois T. Leapheart stated, “All participants in the NCT are to be congratulated for their demonstration of elite communication, teamwork and critical thinking skills inside the courtroom, as well as the network of friendships they develop outside the courtroom.”


Northwood University is committed to the most personal attention to prepare students for success in their careers and in their communities; it promotes critical thinking skills, personal effectiveness, and the importance of ethics, individual freedom and responsibility.

Private, nonprofit, and accredited, Northwood University specializes in managerial and entrepreneurial education at three full-service, residential campuses located in southern Florida, mid-Michigan and northern Texas. Adult Degree Programs are available in eight states with many course delivery options including an online option. The DeVos Graduate School offers day and evening programming in Michigan, Texas, Florida and Switzerland. The Alden B. Dow Center for Creativity and Enterprise in Midland, Michigan, specializes in creative thinking and innovation development. International education is offered through study abroad and in Program Centers in Switzerland, China, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.