Science Olympiad places eighth at state tournament

The team participated in the first ‘normal’ state tournament since the COVID-19 pandemic


By Submitted by Chad Brown

Due to the Science Olympiad State Competition falling on the same date as the Junior Senior Prom, members of the team participated in “Science Prom” at their hotel in Wichita, Friday, March 31.

Luci Guess, JagWire reporter/photographer

The Science Olympiad team competed in the 6A state tournament at Wichita State University on Saturday, April 1 and placed eighth out of 20 schools. 

In preparation for the tournament, the team was assigned a variety of tasks. Competitors in events such as Forestry would prepare a binder of notes to use on their exams while other events were tasked with building a model to test at the competition. 

For this tournament, team member sophomore Carter Tollman noticed the team had done more preparation in advance for this tournament in comparison to previous tournaments. 

“Especially for state, we definitely planned a lot beforehand instead of [cramming] that last week,” Tollman said. “So I think as a team, everyone was significantly more prepared.” 

For co-president senior Sydney Downey, this was a unique tournament, not only for the increase of preparation, but because it was the first state tournament not overwhelmed by COVID-19 protocols. 

“This was the first normal state that I’ve been to in high school, compared to all the other [state tournaments] we’ve been to,” Downey said. “We had an online one, we had one that was just straight up canceled. So this is the first real one since middle school.”

To freshman Doreen Mahugu, what made this tournament unique was the size of the campus and the tournament. 

“The middle schools had all their [classes in] different places, and… all the high schools…were all there and all [in] different rooms,” Mahugu said. “It was a really big campus. It was definitely bigger than when we went to regionals at Johnson County Community College.”

For Tollman, the enjoyable time spent together traveling and walking to their competitions as a team on this trip reflects the close bond they share. 

“We all drove out Friday and stayed the night at a hotel,” Tollman said. “That was really fun, because I was with a bunch of my friends and we all hung out.”

Downey also recognizes the fun, chaotic energy within the team and has found this to be a welcoming place to build lasting friendships. 

“[With more new members the culture is] a lot more chaotic than normal…which is very funny. But overall, I think we’re pretty close,” Downey said. “A lot of the seniors have known each other for a very long time and have all been in Science Olympiad since freshman year and then, of course, the sophomores and juniors, we’ve known for a little while.” 

Throughout all the fun the team has together, to Mahugu, the team maintains a competitive atmosphere with Science Olympiad sponsor Chad Brown pushing them to always do their best.

“He definitely pushed us especially because he said from the very first practice after regionals we’re working harder than we ever have this whole year,” Mahugu said. “We have to push ourselves, we have to get things done. [Brown wanted] build events done immediately so we can test, we can do trials, we can get everything done…He definitely motivated us.”

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