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Mock Trial team competes at Illinois State University

November 8, 2022

Northwood University’s Mock Trial Team competed at the 2022 Illinois State University Mock Trial Tournament, Nov 4-6 at the McLean County Courthouse in Bloomington, Illinois.

“One of our students — Gnanasai (“Sai”) Vepa of Canton — competed for the first time this semester on this team, which consisted of eight first-year competitors and one sophomore,” stated Director DeLois Leapheart. “Sai was making his debut in the role of attorney during the invitational season. Last year during the invitational season, he competed exclusively in the witness role. This weekend at ISU, he led his team in trials against one DePaul University team, a Quincy College team, a Columbia College team and a different DePaul team.”

Vepa was selected for his first Outstanding Attorney Award.

“Congratulations to Sai, and also to Northwood University freshman Connor Bachteal of Saint Joseph, who won his second consecutive Outstanding Witness Award at this weekend’s tournament,” Leapheart stated.

The other students who represented Northwood in competition at ISU this weekend included:

• Caleb Banko of Byron

• JonPaul Burns of Implay City

• Bankaly Camara of Ann Arbor

• Gabriel Cerda of Westland

• Kailey Hill of Burton

• Miah Keller of Mount Clemens

• Brendan VanSumeren of Essexville

Leapheart said the following students helped prepare the team for this weekend’s competition: Lukas Baker of Belmont; J. Austin Wolfe of Cincinnati, Ohio; and DeLorean Ishmon of Eastpointe.

“Few things give me greater joy than watching the institutional transfer of knowledge from our more experienced students to the freshmen and sophomores trying new roles,” Leapheart stated. “It was just a few short years ago when DeLorean made his debut at this tournament and won an Outstanding Witness Award while having his direct examination conducted by J. Austin Wolfe, who came up one point short of winning his first attorney award. Since that time, Lukas, Austin and DeLorean have earned multiple awards, but best of all, they are taking the knowledge they have gleaned in years of competition and sharing it with their less-experienced teammates.”

For more information about Northwood University’s Mock Trial Team, visit

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