Local students head to state competitions

2014-03-21T00:00:00Z Local students head to state competitionsMatt Mikus matt.mikus@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com
March 21, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Science Olympians and chess enthusiasts from Northwest Indiana schools are preparing for state tournaments this weekend.

The state chess tournament in Terre Haute and the state Science Olympiad tournament in Bloomington are Saturday.

Munster's Science Olympiad coach Patrick O'Neill said 23 students from his team are excited for the day.

"We're favorites to win states, which is exciting," O'Neill said. "But you could say the kids are feeling some pressure. But they're all really excited."

Thomas Jefferson Middle School, in Valparaiso, also has a high-caliber reputation, winning the middle school state championship for 21 years.

Coach Rich Bender said his students have been preparing and are cautiously optimistic. He said Munster's Wilbur Wright and Chesterton middle schools will be tough competition.

"They'll be looking to knock us off, but we're ready," he said. "People don't understand the amount of preparation and work these kids put in. It's incredible."

Other area middle schools participating include Hammond's George Rogers Clark, St. John the Baptist Catholic, Hammond Academy of Science and Technology along with Schereville's Forest Ridge Academy, Merrillville's Clifford Pierce, Dyer's Kahler and Munster's St. Thomas More.

Teams competing in the high school division are Chesterton, East Chicago Central, Hammond Academy of Science and Technology, Munster, Portage, Rensselaer, Valparaiso and Whiting.

More than 25 teams of four students from Northwest Indiana will compete in the Scholastic Chess of Indiana state team tournament Saturday.

The tournament squares teams of four against a competing school, playing for one hour.

The Renaissance Academy, of LaPorte, will send six teams throughout all the age divisions, said Victoria McHugh, assistant director of Renaissance. 

"It's good for the kids to build logic and reasoning and a fun way to spend time," she said.

About 21 region schools will send teams to the 45th annual tournament.

Schools participating include Discovery Charter School of Chesterton, St. Mary Catholic Community School of Crown Point, Edison, Eggers, Harding, Hess, Jefferson, Lafayette, Morton, O'Bannon, St. Casimir Catholic, Gavit, St. John Bosco and Scott Middle Schools all of Hammond, Renaissance Academy of LaPorte, Eads and Elliott elementaries, Wilbur Wright Middle School and St. Thomas More of Munster, and St. Paul Catholic School of Valparaiso.

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