Grand’s Science Olympiad team places second overall at state competition in Salt Lake City
by Jeff Richards
The Times-Independent
Apr 20, 2017 | 846 views | 0 0 comments | 59 59 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Grand’s Science Olympiad team and coaches pose during state competition at the University of Utah on April 15.                                                           										    Courtesy photo
Grand’s Science Olympiad team and coaches pose during state competition at the University of Utah on April 15. Courtesy photo
slideshow


Grand County High School’s Science Olympiad team took second place overall among 38 competing schools at the annual state competition held Saturday, April 15 at the University of Utah.

Grand’s contingent included 14 high school competitors plus three students from Grand County Middle School. GCHS science teachers Mary Walker-Irvin and Laura Reed served as the group’s advisers and chaperones.

“Unlike with sports, at Science Olympiad there are no divisions like 5A, 4A, etc. We compete against all other schools,” said Walker-Irvin, adding, “So, we beat teams like Davis, West High, and Riverton. Laura and I are naturally quite pleased!”

Maple Mountain High ended up taking first place overall. Grand, which placed fourth last year, captured second place this year, edging past Hillcrest High by just three points.

Leading the way for Grand were senior Jayelen Knowles and junior Tyler Moreau, who teamed up to win the first-place gold medal in Ecology, an event that tests students on their ability to interpret photographs, data charts, and written descriptions, as well as general knowledge questions about ecosystems.

Also for Grand, juniors Ryan Lewis and Hannah Stripeika teamed up to win a silver medal in Forensics, which involves analyzing the evidence in a mock crime scene and attempting to find the culprit.

Lewis also teamed with fellow junior Gage Souza to win a bronze medal in Materials Science. Stripeika and Souza took the bronze in Microbe Mission. In addition, Ryan Reed captured a bronze medal in Game On!, an event that involves designing and building an original playable computer game based on assigned parameters and theme, along with a rules page, in less than an hour.

“We placed in the top 10 in most of our other events,” Walker-Irvin added.

Although the students typically spend weeks or months preparing for the competition, they often are faced with unexpected challenges.

As a case in point, GCHS senior Heather Sweeney’s balsa wood helicopter didn’t survive the bus ride to Salt Lake City unscathed.

“Many of the most delicate pieces were in fact broken, not just unglued, so I got the hot glue gun we had brought along, and we went out in the hallway and spent the next hour cutting out new pieces and gluing the thing together,” Walker-Irvin recalled. “We managed to get it assembled just barely in time for her to take it to the competition. Fortunately, it met all of the design and construction requirements (you lose points if it doesn’t), although it didn’t fly well at all.”

Even so, Sweeney still managed to take eighth overall in the Helicopters category.

Also competing for Grand in various categories at the event were seniors Tyrese Stash and Bjorn Nicolaisen; juniors Grace Osusky and Kaylan Young; sophomores John Goheen and Sadie Farnsworth; freshman Jaidyn Thomas; and middle school students Nova Hill, Brett Reed, and Jaden Nelson.

Also assisting the GCHS contingent was Udit Bhavsar, who graduated from GCHS in 2012 and is now finishing his pre-med program at the University of Utah. Bhavsar, who also participated in Science Olympiad while in high school, served as a judge for one of the events.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.