Science Olympiad places second and ninth at Invitational


Shannon Hong

The Valhalla Team pose with their trophy after the award ceremony. Only the top three teams receive trophies. From left to right: senior Gloria Shi, junior Melissa Mitchell, freshman Harshini Iyer, freshman Ryan Nelson, junior Christopher Lee, senior Tom Mikolyuk, junior Karen Haining, sophomore Ashi Jain, senior Anna Weaver, senior Sandy Cheng, sophomore Nandira Mahmud and junior Conor Bartol. Not pictured: Kevin Shi.

On Jan. 12, Inglemoor sent two teams to Curtis Junior High School to compete at the Science Olympiad Invitational Competition. Of the twenty high school teams that competed, Inglemoor’s Valhalla Team placed second and Black Team placed ninth.

Although the Invitational doesn’t place the teams at an advantage for upcoming competitions, senior and President Johnson Kuang said that it prepared both teams for future competitions.

“I think that we performed really well this competition,” Kuang said. “We’ve demonstrated that we have the potential to upstage good teams and get to Nationals within the next few years.”

Junior Melissa Mitchell, who received second place in the Codebusters event on the Valhalla team, said that meeting new people and applying knowledge at competitions is the most exciting part of the experience.

“I like the competitions because they give us a chance to use the information and skills that [we] learned throughout the season and provide motivation for further improvement,” Mitchell said. “It’s also exciting to see so many students from around the region that are involved in Science Olympiad.”

Since the beginning of the school year, both teams have worked studiously in order to perform their best for the upcoming competitions. Mitchell said she had to prepare for her events in many different ways.

“My preparation generally includes practicing labs, reading books, watching videos and testing a device,” Mitchell said. “[The club] also holds after-school practices every week, which are good times to work with my event partners.”

Senior Gloria Shi, who mainly competed in build events, said she dedicated a lot of time to construct and refine her devices to make sure they performed well during the competition.

“I love learning through hands-on experience and spending hours crafting something from scratch and eventually seeing it soar in the air,” Shi said. “Every little accomplishment along the way is very rewarding for me.”

Shi also said that Science Olympiad helped her grow as a person; in her first year, she was uncomfortable with participating in build events, as she was unwillingly placed on one by her coach in her freshman year. Three years later, those events helped her determine her future career path.

“The experiences I’ve gained through building those models have led me to pursue a career in architecture,” Shi said. “[It] helped me discover my passion and foster my curiosity, it helped me grow and I wouldn’t be where I am today without Science Olympiad and all the people in it.”

In regards to the team, Shi said the team environment is welcoming and supportive, where the team works in a collaborative effort.

“We are a school working towards one goal rather than teams competing against each other,” Shi said. “When we win anything, we think of it as Inglemoor winning and not just our team winning.”

However, preparing for events can be tough, according to Kuang who received second place in Thermodynamics, third place in Sounds of Music and sixth place in Circuit Lab on the Black team.

“Often times, I’ve encountered very frustrating moments when my builds don’t work and at that time, I definitely feel ready to quit,” Kuang said. “But of course I haven’t, so it was all just a test of character.”

Kuang said that he is proud of the club’s ability to take on challenges and new changes, and he is looking forward to working with the teams in future competitions.

“Science Olympiad is the most fun and intellectually-stimulating competition there is,” Kuang said. “I could not ask for a better group of people to be working with.”