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December 7, 2022

SVSU moot court teams make strong showing at home tournament

Four students in black suits holding trophies

Zoey Schwab contributed to this story

Hours of preparation propelled Saginaw Valley State University students to strong showings in a moot court regional tournament hosted by the university on December 2 and 3. SVSU hosted 30 teams from around the country for the event, one of 16 regional tournaments at which students compete to qualify for the American Moot Court Association’s national tournament in January.

Julie Keil, SVSU associate professor of political science and a moot court adviser, said the competition at this tournament was fierce, and included teams from Yale, Duke University, University of Chicago, Loyola University, and others.

Two SVSU teams finished the tournament in the top 3, earning spots at the national tournament. The team of Ethan Day, of Linwood, and Diva Patel, from Kawkawlin, placed 2nd in the tournament. Day completed a degree in professional and technical writing from SVSU and remains enrolled in a post-baccalaureate program. Patel is a cell biology, molecular biology and biomedical sciences major. Political science majors Nikolas Baker, of Standish, and Garrett Powell, of Chesaning, finished in 3rd place.

These students will join four other SVSU students who qualified for the national tournament at earlier competitions: Ethan Rose, a political science major from Ypsilanti, and Abigail (Abi) Walk, a management major from Saginaw, and political science majors Kennedy Kreger, of Battle Creek, and Jeffrey Ramsey, of Greenwood.

Of the 10 SVSU teams – each consisting of two students – that participated in the competition, six advanced to the second day of competition, with five of the pairs placing in the top 16.

“This is SVSU’s best showing in its history,” Keil said. “The success of the teams was based on their qualities of intelligence and hard work, but also the number of hours they and all of the coaches put into preparation.”

Amy Hendrickson, associate professor of law and co-adviser of SVSU’s moot court program, and Kevin Lorentz II, assistant professor of political science, helped coach the students alongside Keil.

In addition to Day, Patel, Baker and Powell, other teams included:

  • B Browne, a political science major from Midland, and Toni Gjerkaj, a pre-law major from Sterling Heights, who placed 7th.
  • Karson Bagelmann, a pre-law major from Antelope, California, and Alec Leppek, a political science major from Bay City, who finished in the top 16.
  • Nikolas Corriveau, a Great Lakes Bay Early College student from Saginaw and Symone Guy, a political science major from Flint.
  • Velencia Gonzalez, a criminal justice major from Saginaw and Jacob Spencer, a political science major from Canada.
  • Patrice Henderson, a criminal justice major from Saginaw and Madison Hutchison, a criminal justice major from Saginaw.
  • Emmy Martin, a political science major from Tawas City, and Blake Woerner, a communication major from Owosso.
  • Antony Souss, a criminal justice major from Marine City and Mackenzie Victory, a political science major from Chesterfield, finished in the top 16.
  • Larkin West, a history major from Saginaw and Camden Williams, a political science major from Jenison.

Bagelmann, Day and Patel also won the Top 10 Orator’s Awards.

Participants in moot court act as attorneys in a simulated argument in front of the Supreme Court. Competitions are judged on the quality and clarity of the students’ arguments, their public speaking skills and knowledge of the law and the case.

SVSU’s moot court program has qualified for the national tournament nearly every year it has competed since the program’s inception in 2010. In 2020, SVSU’s moot court was ranked No. 16 in the nation. Around 120 colleges and universities field undergraduate moot court programs, and in all, some 500 moot court teams will compete in 2022, representing those schools. 

For more information about the American Moot Court Association, go to