Science Olympiad places ninth at state competition

The team won a total of 263 points Tuesday, March 30


By Molly Smith

Calibrating their vehicle, junior Jordan Manning keeps a steady hand to ensure precise movements for their vehicle Wednesday, March 31.

Grace McLeod, JAG editor-in-chief

Totaling 263 points, the Science Olympiad team finished in ninth place at the virtual state competition Tuesday, March 30. 

According to junior Patrick Mack, the team battled technical difficulties that affected their placement.

Working in the counseling office conference room, juniors Benjamin Baumgart and Patrick Mack compare notes during the state competition Tuesday, March 30. (By Molly Smith)

“A lot of our team events weren’t scored because the submission methods weren’t consistent between events and the tests and videos weren’t submitted correctly,” Mack said. “There was another team who had the same problem as us, but Science Olympiad won’t do anything to fix the problem. They gave us a rank for Detector Building, but they didn’t view our video submission.”

With his partner, freshman Ethan Long, Mack placed second in Circuit Lab. However, the submission problem prevented Mack from being scored on one of his best-performing events, Wright Stuff, which he competed in alongside senior Andrew Gawith.

“I was beyond angry because we had done really well in Wright Stuff,” Mack said. “We had the best flight time we have ever gotten on an official flight and we got last because of the submission.”

Despite the flawed system, sophomore Syndey Downey and her partner sophomore Madison Koester placed second in AgriBio and third in both Boomilever and Write it Do it. Downey explained their top-ranked event.

“It’s agricultural biology,” Downey said. “It’s a test even that deals with soil science, crops production and plant nutrients.”

Amidst a test, juniors Patrick Mack and Jordan Manning scramble to finish their work in the final 30 seconds of their time limit, Tuesday, March 30. (By Molly Smith)

While Downey found success at the tournament, its virtual format had both positives and negatives.

“We got to take off classes and go to a room to do our events, which made it feel a little more like actual state; that was nice,” Downey said. “Some events I had were lab events, like Forensics, so we didn’t get to do the lab stuff since it was online, which is a bit difficult.”

During their gravity vehicle event, junior Jordan Manning and senior Andrew Gawith show their judge the dimensions of their ramp Wednesday, March 31. (By Molly Smith)

While he acknowledged the challenges, Mack felt optimistic for the future.

“I think that considering all the events that weren’t scored, ninth is a pretty good outcome.

Had those events been scored, our team is confident that we could have gotten fourth or fifth,” Mack said. “I love being able to do fun and challenging things with a group of amazing people. I am hoping we can do well next year in state and possibly go to nationals.”


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