Valpo, Munster students place in top 20 in national Science Olympiad

2013-05-19T20:50:00Z 2013-05-19T20:54:05Z Valpo, Munster students place in top 20 in national Science OlympiadTimes Staff
May 19, 2013 8:50 pm  • 

Students from Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Valparaiso and Munster High School competed against 118 teams from across the country in Saturday's Science Olympiad National Tournament.

Munster High School placed 18th, and Thomas Jefferson placed 19th.

The event took place at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Thomas Jefferson and Munster High School students moved on to the national tournament in March after winning at the state competition at Indiana University in Bloomington.

The annual tournament pits teams from across the country against each other in 23 categories. Each student competes in three events in categories testing their skills on such topics as knowledge of disease detection, heredity, constructing a robot arm and a Rube Goldberg machine, meteorology, magnetic levitation, water quality and forensics.

Medals are presented annually to the top six teams in each event and trophies are awarded to the overall top 10 teams.

Munster High medal winners were Andy Chen and Peter Kraft, sixth place in the dynamic planet event; Colin Richter and Haley Kwasniewski, fourth place in the elastic launch glider event; and Jessica Avina and Taylor Merkel, sixth place in the write it/do it event.

Keith Koszut, the Munster team's coach, said it was the first time Munster High advanced to the national competition. Munster High teacher Patrick O'Neill and Kym Davis at Wilbur Wright Middle School also helped coach the team.

"I think being in the top third of the country is a really good stepping stone for our program," he said.

Individual event results for Thomas Jefferson were not immediately available.

Saturday's competition marked the 24th time Thomas Jefferson students have competed at the national level. Thomas Jefferson teams won the national tournament in 1993 and 1996 and have been state champions 21 times.

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