The Lewis University A and B teams earned two bids in the American Mock Trial Association national tournament with outstanding performances in the Feb. 18-19 regional competition at the Will County Courthouse in Joliet. The 28 teams that competed in the event for the eight available bids made it the largest regional competition in the nation. The Lewis A team finished in fourth place and the B team finished in sixth place in the tournament hosted by Lewis University. Among the competing universities in the tournament were Northwestern, the University of Chicago, the University of Wisconsin, University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana, Bradley, Marquette, Michigan State, North Central and Carthage.
The Lewis University Mock Trial teams proceed to the first round of the national tournament set for March 9-11 at the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan, Ill. The teams are now among the top 184 teams in the nation; narrowed down from 614 teams that competed in the regionals across the country.
Michael Park won honors as a Regional Outstanding Attorney. Cary Hansing earned recognition as Regional Outstanding Witness. There were a number of Lewis students that missed individual regional honors by a few points, including David DeSchepper, Martell Khattab, Cassandra Myers, Michael Noe, Joshua Rehak and Kevin Whelehen.
“The A team had an awesome tournament, being in the lead from the start,” commented Dr. Jim Houlihan, head coach, professor and director of the Pre-Law program at Lewis University. The team has been solid all year long with various victories throughout the season. Lewis A team members include: Martell Khattab, Sara Morgan, Cassandra Myers, Michael Park, Nicole Tucker, Tiffany Wasilewski and Kevin Whelehan.
“The B team had a wonderful come back from being down on Saturday and giving a superb performance and sweeping their opponents on Sunday to capture the national bid. I’m really proud of all the students,” said Houlihan. According to judges’ ratings on combined strength, the B team had the toughest schedule of any team in the tournament. Lewis B team members include: Megan Arehart, David DeSchepper, Cary Hansing, Michael Noe, Ron Jovi Ramirez, Joshua Rehak and Danielle Volk.
Coaches for the Lewis Mock Trial Team include Dr. Houlihan, Head Coach; and Lewis alumni William Rock of Block Klukas & Manzella law firm in Joliet as Attorney Coach, John Senese of the Peter Francis Geraci Law Offices in Chicago as Lead Team Coach; and Brandi Sanders, now a graduate student as Witness Coach.
At the awards ceremony, Houlihan was honored for his dedication and success with mock trial. American Mock Trial Association board members presented Houlihan with the American Mock Trial Association’s 2012 Congressman Neil Smith Award. Brother James Gaffney, FSC, President of Lewis University, congratulated Dr. Houlihan who has coached the University’s Mock Trial Team since 1996 and established the Lewis Mediation Team five years ago.
David Nelmark, President of the American Mock Trial Association, said the Neil Smith Award is one of the highest honors for academic coaches. “This award recognizes outstanding and exemplary contributions to law-related education and its mission to promote public understanding of law and the legal process,” he said.
Lewis University is a Catholic university offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to nearly 6,500 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally aware, and socially responsible graduates. The ninth largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.
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