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Science Olympiad rises above competition, qualifies for State

Haleigh Miller

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By Holly Dayton ’13, Perspectives Editor

After a spectacular performance this past Saturday at the Cincinnati Regional Competition, the Science Olympiad team is advancing to State, to compete against the 40 best teams in Ohio. This success comes from a season of hard work and solid effort from the Science Olympiad team, which is led by co-captains Gail Yacyshyn ’12 and Henry Pease ’12, and coaches Paula Butler, Francisco Borrero and John Carriero.

Despite the loss of key science stars Sebastian Koochaki, Jayne Caron, and Kevin Baxter due to graduation, the Science Olympiad team has had excellent results and record-high participation this year. In fact, so many students were interested in participating that a second full team was formed. Each team is made up of 15 students.

Team A consists of Gail Yacyshyn ’12, Henry Pease ’12, William Bismayer ‘11, Michael Morgan ‘12, Kevin McSwiggen ‘11, Jonas Luebbers ‘12, Sally Portman ‘13, Amar Mehta ‘12, Elizabeth Blackburn ‘11, Brad Hammoor ‘12, Mitchell Cruey ‘12, Ani Kosaraju ‘13, Caroline Blackburn ‘13, Karis Kosar ‘11, and Trevor Yates ’11. Team B is made up of Elijah Engelke ‘14, Sarah-Mae Selnick ‘13, Sonia Bhati ‘14, Austin Harden ‘14, Timmy Macrae ‘12, Caroline Gentile ‘13, Katie Karnes ‘13, Victoria Paff ‘14, Anand Mehta ‘14, Kendall Toerner ‘12, Hakeem McGee ‘13, Dane Isburgh ‘12, Olivia June ‘13, Alex Levinson ‘12, and Tyler Spaeth ’12.

At competitions, which Mrs. Butler described as “all-day marathons,” students compete in 23 different events against upwards of 40 teams. The students build structures, take tests, and run mini-experiments, all in a competition format.

There have been three competitions so far this year. The first, Northmont invitational, took place in January, when team A placed 23rd out of 45 teams. At that event, Dane Isburgh ’12 and Amar Mehta ’12 earned third place in Sumo Bots, and Henry Pease ’12 and Jonas Luebbers ’12 received sixth place in Write it Do it. Many other students received ribbons at this event.

The next competition was at Wright State, against 40 other teams, where team A came in 18th place. Mitchell Cruey ’12 and Sally Portman ’13 took second in Write it Do it, Lizzie Blackburn ’11 and Henry Pease ’12 received third in Technical Problem Solving, and Kevin McSwiggen ’11 and Elizabeth Blackburn ’11 placed sixth in Chemistry Lab.

At this most recent competition, the team as a whole outstripped themselves, placing third out of the 24 teams in the region. Finishing in the top three in their events were first place Jonas Luebbers ’12 in Mousetrap Vehicle, first place Henry Pease ’12 in Optics, second place Michael Morgan ’12 and Amar Mehta ’12 in Anatomy and Physiology, second place Lizzie Blackburn ’11, Brad Hammoor ’12 and Henry Pease ’12 in Experimental Design. 

Others top finishes include: fourth place Kevin McSwiggen ’11 and Lizzie Blackburn ’11 in Chemistry Lab, fourth place Kevin McSwiggen ’11 and Mitchell Cruey ’12 in Remote Sensing, fifth place William Bismayer ’11 and Gail Yacyshyn in Ornithology, fifth place Kevin McSwiggen ’11 and Henry Pease ’12 in Technical Problem Solving, sixth place Karis Kosar ’11 and Caroline Blackburn ’13 in Dynamic Planet, sixth place Caroline Gentile ’13 and Victoria Paff ’14 in Forensics, sixth place Tyler Spaeth ’12 and Anand Mehta ’14 in Microbe Mission, sixth place Ani Kosaraju ’13 and Trevor Yates ’11 in Mission Possible, sixth place Gail Yacyshyn, Michael Morgan and Caroline Blackburn in Protein Modeling, and sixth place Brad Hammoor ’12 and Jonas Luebbers ’12 in Towers.

Regional competitions, such as the one at Northmont, are “incredibly hard,” said Mrs. Butler. “We go up against the most competitive teams in this part of the nation, but it pushes us to improve our performance.” The coaches have been so impressed with the leadership from juniors Yachyshyn and Pease, organizing a team twice the size of last year’s.”

With such a large team this year, one might wonder why so many people participate. The answers vary: “It’s fun”; “I wanted to try it, and I like it”; “It’s interesting to meet kids from other schools”; “I get to use my school knowledge”; “I’m interested in science”; “It will look good on a college application”. Each of these students also had their own favorite event whether it be Anatomy and Physiology or Towers. 

Photo by Brad Hammoor ’12

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Science Olympiad rises above competition, qualifies for State