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Northwood Shines in Mock Trial Competition

December 21, 2020

Circumstances have forced many changes in this year’s collegiate Mock Trial competitive season, but at least one thing has stayed constant: students from Northwood University continue to win awards.

Northwood finished seventh at the Great American Mock Trial Invitational (GAMTI) tournament held on November 21-22. The tournament was conducted by the University of Virginia using online meeting technology, with students competing from their home schools in real-time courtroom simulations. Each of the 20 participating universities, which included 18 of the nation’s top-30 programs, took part in four head-to-head competitions over the course of the tournament.

At GAMTI, Northwood defeated teams from the University of California-Berkeley, Emory University and one of the University of Virginia teams, before suffering a split-ballot loss to Yale University in the final round. As individuals, Northwood students Lukas Baker and Jake Walters were selected for Outstanding Witness Awards.

Northwood’s success at GAMTI is in line with its status as a perennial contender for a national championship, which it won in 2009. Northwood has also earned division runner up at the National Championship Tournament three times (2008, 2010 and 2014) and finished in the top 10 the last time the National Championship was held (2019).

Miami University, the nation’s No. 1 ranked team, finished atop the GAMTI leaderboard with 11.5 ballot wins and a 19.5 opponent combined strength (CS) rating. That was followed by the University of Chicago (9 wins, 20 CS), Duke University (8.5 wins, 20.5 CS), Yale University (8 wins, 20 CS), the University of Virginia (7 wins, 30.5 CS), Tufts University (7 wins, 28.5 CS), Northwood University (7 wins, 22 CS), the University of California-Berkeley (7 Wins, 21.5 CS), Ohio State University (6.5 wins, 27 CS) and Northwestern University (6.5 wins, 21.5 CS).

Northwood’s GAMTI performance capped off their fall schedule, which included tournaments hosted by Duke University, the University of Georgia and Ohio State University. Individual honors at those events went to Simeon Lawrence, Ricky Ascherl, Jake Walters, Elisse Richardson, Parker Luchenbill and Lukas Baker.

The Northwood University Mock Trial program has been led by DeLois T. Leapheart since its inception. She is a Northwood professor, Law Program curriculum leader, director of the NU Mock Trial program, and is one of only 13 people named to the AMTA Coaches Hall of Fame. In 2019, Leapheart received the Neal Smith Award, which the AMTA presents to one individual annually in recognition of “outstanding and exemplary contributions to law-related education and its mission to promote public understanding of law and the legal process.”

The season resumes on January 9 with a tournament sponsored by the University of California-Irvine.

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