HAMMOND | Munster High School swept the Division C Science Olympiad regional competition Saturday at Purdue University Calumet.
Three teams from Munster took the top three spots in the high school division, with Whiting High School's Green team taking fourth and Hammond Academy of Science and Technology taking fifth.
"Last year was the first year we won the state competition," said Patrick O'Neill, Munster coach and high school science teacher. "So we're building off of that, but we seem much stronger this year. We're aiming to bring home a national trophy."
The top teams in the state competition in March will advance to the nationals. The top 10 teams in a competition at the University of Central Florida in May will claim a national trophy.
Only one team per school will attend the state competition March 22 at Indiana University in Bloomington, so O'Neill and co-coach Keith Koszut will choose a collection of 15 Munster students to compete.
"The cuts are going to be tough," O'Neill said. "I've got kids who could be the star of any other team, but we just don't have enough space."
Teams heading to the state tournament include Munster, Whiting, Hammond Academy of Science and Technology and East Chicago Central High School.
Merrillville High School will compete for its shot at the state tournament at the wild card tournament at Ball State on March 8. From there, three middle school teams and two high school teams will advance to the state tournament.
Wilbur Wright Middle School in Munster took first place in the middle school division, followed by George Rogers Clark Middle School in Hammond, St. John the Baptist Catholic School of Whiting, Hammond Academy of Science and Technology, and Forest Ridge Academy in Schererville. Each will head to the state tournament, while Grimmer Middle School in Schererville will attend the wild card tournament.
From the Indiana University Northwest tournament, Chesterton placed first in the high school division, followed by Valparaiso, Canterbury School of Fort Wayne, Rensselaer and Portage. The top four teams will head to the state tournament, while Portage High School will head to the wild card tournament
Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Valparaiso took first in the middle school division, followed by Chesterton, Clifford Pierce Middle School in Merrillville, Kahler Middle School in Dyer and St. Thomas More School in Munster. All five teams will head to the state tournament, while St. Mary Catholic Community School in Crown Point will compete at the wild card tournament.