WHITING | After months of hard work and a competitive season, the Whiting Science Olympiad teams achieved something they had done before: earned the top two spots in the Purdue Calumet Regional Competition on March 2.
Taking first place, Whiting’s A-Team received gold medals in 14 of their events, and the B-Team medaled in 19 events to take second place. These results qualified the teams to advance to the Indiana Science Olympiad State Tournament which was held at Indiana University Bloomington on March 16.
At the regional, gold medals were awarded to seniors Vaytta Arroyo, Johnny Blood, Alex Dillon, Mary Gundich, Luke Matulewicz, Lauren Markovich, Mason Markovich, Alexis Osoria and Brianna Scivinsky; juniors Alex Bajzatt, Andrew Campos, Kevin Lema Jorge Vazquez and Sergio Zarate; sophomores Jacob Brooks, Mark Casanova, Kelly Kertis and Nolan Michniewicz; and freshmen Michael Kalavo, Lilliana Ruiz and Samanta Zapien.
In addition to the gold medals, the team also received many silver and bronze medals, as well as the two trophies. Now that they see where they stand among schools in the region, the question now is whether the team will place above competitors of the highest caliber at the state level, many of whom they have competed against at past tournaments.
Before their success at regionals, however, the team had a chance to compete at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL. Both A and B-Teams came in sixth place in each of their divisions, finishing just one rank away from a trophy. Because they were the only Indiana team at that invite, they had the opportunity to compete with teams that they could again meet at nationals. Even so, Science Olympiad Co-sponsor Jeremy Long said that, though Loyola was a good learning experience, it didn’t display the best of their abilities.
“I think this gave us an indication of where we’re at, but I don’t think it was our best day. The teams that finished ahead of us are teams that were strong, but still teams that we know we could beat. We knew from then what we had to work on, which is one of the reasons why regionals turned out to be such a great deal.”
Despite their success at the regional, in order to make nationals the team must work harder than ever, and their coaches have the utmost confidence in them.
“I was just telling some of the teachers,” Co-sponsor Dan Nichols said, “that I can see this team placing sixth, yet I can see them coming out as state champs; they definitely have the potential of being state champs this year.”