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The Hillsdale College mock trial team traveled to South Bend, Ind. last weekend to compete in the American Mock Trial Association’s regional tour­nament at the Uni­versity of Notre Dame.

The team won three of its match-ups, but lost five, some by a very close margin, and did not advance to the national tour­nament. The team struggled with the dif­ficult schedule it was given.

“We had the highest com­bined strength score at the com­pe­tition, meaning that we had the hardest schedule of any team there,” said sophomore Evan Gage, who gave closing argu­ments at the trial.

Freshman Philip Ham­mersley agreed.

“The com­pe­tition was very tough. We faced some really good teams. There was no room for error [because] all the teams were top-notch.”

The team started hot, winning against the Uni­versity of Chicago and per­forming well against Loyola Uni­versity. But then it came up against Northwood Uni­versity, the top-ranked team that went on to win 8 – 0.

“The margin by which we lost to [Northwood] was incredibly small. We did very well,” Gage said.

Though they did not move on to regionals, the team members were pleased with their per­for­mance.

“We were always on the brink of winning, but we could never quite get there,” freshman Katie Kinell said. “I’m really proud of everyone, though. Each person put a lot of effort in.”

Gage echoed these sen­ti­ments.

“Regardless of the fact that we didn’t qualify, we had people who did a fan­tastic job in certain parts of the trial,” he said. “Some of the new members per­formed to the best of their ability.”

Now that this season is over, the team is looking to next year with high hopes.

“We knew that this year would be a building year,” Gage said. “Instead of having an A team with more expe­ri­enced people and a B team with new members, we split up all the sopho­mores to work with all of the freshmen. Now we have a huge group of stu­dents who are well-qual­ified. At the com­pe­tition, we ended up seeing the foun­dation of a national team. Uni­versity of Chicago, Northwood, Notre Dame — we’ll take ’em down. I have no doubt.”

Freshman Sam Ryskamp agreed.

“This is only our second year, and we could hang with some good teams,” he said. “Next year, we’ll have an oppor­tunity to do some big things and make some noise.”