Bitterroot Valley schools excelled at the 34th Montana Science Olympiad, Nov. 19 and 20, in Bozeman.
Hamilton High School placed first and Corvallis High School placed second against 57 other school teams competing in Division C. Hamilton Middle School placed first and Corvallis Middle School placed second against 66 other school teams competing in Division B.
HHS coaches Tom Schmit, Marie Antonioli and Dietrich Perchy said they were pleased with the performance of students in the Bitterroot Valley.
“What makes it pretty special is that Corvallis took second and the Bitterroot Valley really dominated the competition,” Schmit said. “It was pretty cool.”
In fact, Hamilton Middle School took first place and Corvallis Middle School took second place against 66 school teams competing in Division B.
Schmit said it was amazing year for Hamilton High with the strongest overall team score he can recall thanks to the core group of experienced upperclassman and younger team members who stepped up to contribute.
“It was also so special to share the podium with the Hamilton Middle school gold medalist team,” Schmit said. “It’s extremely unusual to have a school district ‘sweep’ state championships at both the middle school and high school level.”
Science Olympiad brings enthusiasm and support to science education and learning about biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, computer science and technology. Tournaments are rigorous academic inter-scholastic competitions that consist of a series of individual and team events that require knowledge of science facts, concepts, processes, skills and science.
The Hamilton High School team earned 67 points, low score wins. Individual results: Boomilever — Peyton Haddock and Bella Farrenkopf-Perry — first place, gold medal; Mousetrap vehicle — Caelen DeVall and Sebastian Johnson — first place, gold medal; Wright Stuff — Derek Twardoski and Gabe Anderson — first place, gold medal; Dynamic Planet — Cadogan Wheat and Logan VanDenburg — second place, silver medal; Experimental Design — Jared McGourty, Shelby Cruse and George Glidden — second place, silver medal; Water Quality — Lilly Ogden and Cadogan Wheat — third place; Anatomy and Physiology — Gabe Hoenstine and Lilly Ogden — fourth place; Geologic Mapping — Hunter Bonnes and Sebastian Johnson — fifth place; Fossils — Shelby Cruse and Peyton Haddock — 20th place; Mission Possible — Sebastian Johnson and Caelen DeVall — fourth place; Protein Modeling — George Glidden and Hunter Bonnes — fourth place; Sound of Music — Logan VanDenburg and Gabe Hoenstine- fourth place; Thermodynamics — Jared McGourty and Gabe Hoenstine — sixth; Write It\Do It — Alyssa McWhirter and Bella Farrenkopf-Perry 10th; Alternate – Sam Duerr.
HHS senior George Glidden said Science Olympiad has enriched his high school experience.
“It allows me to explore topics that I am passionate about such as protein modeling,” he said. “It is an experience that I will definitely miss. “
HHS senior Gabe Hoenstine said Science Olympiad has opened his eyes to opportunities.
“It has helped me to develop my problem solving skills,” he said. “It also allowed me to explore potential careers to pursue in the future by providing me chances to build relationships with people that have similar interests.”
HHS senior Lilly Ogden said the Science Olympiad experience was rewarding.
“It gave me an opportunity to be self-directed in my academics more than I had in the past,” she said. “I’m very proud to be a part of this great team.”
Coach Antonioli praised the dedication of her team.
“These kids set a team goal to win and they put in the time and brainpower that it took to dominate the tournament this year,” she said. “We are so incredibly proud of them.”
The Hamilton Middle School Science Olympiad team earned 118 points in Division B. Individual results: Battery Buggy — Nathan Schwartz and Haylee McKern – fifth; Boomilever — Emma Hollingsworth and Anna Twardoski — third; Crime Busters — Mya Winkler and Logan Harrison — 11th; Disease Detectives — Colin Hanley and Greg Simmerman — second; Elastic Launch Glider — Cole Kimzey and Greg Simmerman — third; Experimental Design — Addie Mlera, Anna Twardoski and Madison Ward — 12th ; Fossils - Sofia Lewanski and Addie Mlera — sixth; Heredity — Madison Ward and Fern Stewart — 19th; Meteorology — Nathan Schwartz and Colin Hanley – 10th; Potions and Poisons — Logan Harrison and Mya Winkler — 15th, Roller Coaster — Gwen Wolfe and Julia Seifert — third; Solar System — Fern Stewart and Emma Hollingsworth — third; Water Quality — Sofia Lewanski and Cole Kimzey — seventh; Write It Do it — Julia Seifert and Gwen Wolfe — 19th; Alternates Tommy Bender and Sarah Anderson.
HHS and HMS will be heading to national competition in late May at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Fundraising is underway and donations are welcome at Science Olympiad Team c/o Hamilton High School, 327 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton, MT 59840.
The Corvallis High School Science Olympiad Team took second place with 119 points.
Coaches are Laura Carrasco and Tracy Dickerson agreed it was a great team to coach.
“The kids are bright, motivated and truly a pleasure to work with,” Carrasco said. “I am so proud of the varsity finishing second and both teams doing so well overall.”
The team had 31 dedicated competitors.
“They started working months ago and many kids put in ridiculous hours at home and school,” Carrasco said. “Planes that flew horribly at first ended up flying beautifully because problem solving and hard work are the key to their success.”
Medalists included: Wright Stuff — Ben Carrasco and Jace Barcus — second; Boomlever — Charlotte Powell and Matt Glenn — second; Protein modelling — Ben Carrasco and Kris Ericson — third; Protein Modelling — Whitney Wyche and Jasmine King — third; Wright Stuff — Will Flowers and Brinson Wyche - third.
“We had nine seniors on the team, seven varsity and two junior varsity, and they will be missed,” Carrasco said. “A team doesn't do well without all event teams doing well so congratulations to all Science Olympiad Team members.”
Corvallis Middle School Science Olympiad team took second place and was coached by Jenifer Powell and Darci Herbstritt.
CMS Principal Rich Durgin said it is exciting to see students investing hard work to prepare for their events and compete at a high level.
“I have no doubt that many of these students will choose to pursue careers in science or engineering as a result of their Science Olympiad experience,” Durgin said. “It is a terrific program, and I am extremely proud of our middle school team.”
The CMS team earned five individual event medals: Gold medal winners were: Tara Fournier and Sydney Wolsky — Elastic Launch Glider; Rosalyn Daniel, Rylee Herbstritt, and Addison Truc — Experimental Design; Silver medalists: Rylee Herbstritt and Grace Robinson-Water Quality; Olivia Buoy and Sydney Wolsky-Heredity; Bronze medalists: Emelia Schairer and Laurie Davidson-Meteorology.
Powell said her team had commitment.
“Our students came in fired up this year,” she said. “We had a returning team of 13 eighth graders who knew the commitment expected to do well at the state level. All twenty five students spent countless hours studying, running trials, building and re-building.”
Coach Powell said her teams worked with local mentors and gained tremendous experience that in some cases included learning college level material.
“During competition these students impressed me with their ability to stay calm and deal with adversity,” Powell said. “They are an incredible group of students and a pleasure to coach.”
Coach Herbstritt called Science Olympiad a “phenomenal program.”
“Year after year, Corvallis Middle School’s Science Olympiad team places in the top two,” she said. “This is a testament to the commitment from the students to put in the work to perform well. I couldn’t be more proud of these students.”
Herbstritt said participating students learn more than science.
“They are learning commitment, perseverance, time-management, organizational skills and cooperation,” she said. “To celebrate their accomplishments at the state competition is just the icing on the cake – especially when you have seen their journey to get there.”
Other Bitterroot Valley Science Olympiad Teams who placed in Division C are Florence-Carlton High School — 21st; Stevensville High School — 41st and Victor High School — 44th. Division B included Lone Rock School who placed 34th.
FCHS Top finishers were | Experimental Design: Natalie Dulac, Shannon Byrne, Zachary Henderson - first; and Mouse Trap Vehicle: Zachary Henderson and Wesson Cook State – fourth.
For more results visit: www.montana.edu/ehhd/smrc/mtso/.
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