HHS Wins Fifth Consecutive Science Olympiad State Title
The Hamilton High School Science Olympiad team won first place for the fifth consecutive year and the Corvallis Middle School Science Olympiad team won first place in the college category at the Montana State Tournament in Bozeman on March 8.
Teams will travel to the National Science Olympiad competition in Wichita, Kansas, starting May 20.
“These kids continue to impress me year after year,” HHS coach Vanessa Haflich said. “I don’t know how they do it.”
Haflich served as HHS’s chief science coach for two years and served as an assistant coach the year prior.
“The students have a great work ethic and attitude and want to learn their event and compete,” Haflich said. “It’s so fun to see that year after year. For the seniors, it’s also their fifth year. They also won that in eighth year, so it’s very cool. We’re excited to see what we’re doing at national championships.
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Capitol High (Helena) placed second and Corvallis High School placed third in the high school competition.
“It’s a good thing that we’re also competing with AA schools,” Haflich said. “Our JV team also scored 10th overall.”
The HHS SO team is made up of seven seniors, three juniors and five sophomores. The results are Fern Stewart and Em Courchesne – 2nd in Write It Do It; Haven Osher Rightsell and Bryn Cianflone – 2nd in Scrambler; Ben Busa and Nathan Schwartz – 1st at Fermi; Fern Stewart, Sophia Lewanski and Em Courchesne – 1st in Experimental Design; Conner Reed and Zsomi Kari – 1st in building detectors; Cole Kimzey and Zsomi Kari – 2nd in Code Busters; Avery Stevens and Kiera Judy – 2nd in the chemistry lab; Elaina Lewis and Eleri Wheat – 3rd in cell biology; Matt Ochoa and Makenna Gunderson – 1st in Trajectory; Brooklyn Brown and Emma Hollingsworth – 3rd in bridge; and Zsomi Kari and Sierra Berry – 3rd in astronomy.
Haflich explained that for Montana, HHS is participating in 14 events, but will add nine more to have a total of 23 events for national competitions.
“Children will learn from additional events,” Haflach said. “Most states participate in 23 events year-round. I already have kids coming in for lunch or during my prep period who want to go over the SO material. I order more supplies. There’s a lot of excitement with the team right now. It’s going to be a whirlwind of spring.
The HHS SO team has been unable to travel due to the pandemic and has competed in national tournaments online for the past three years.
“We’re traveling this year, it’s well deserved,” Haflich said. “We haven’t traveled for three years and we are fundraising. We will have to buy plane tickets in the next two weeks.
Haflich said the HHS SO team had done fundraising over the years, but travel, registration, lodging, food and other costs had increased.
“Depending on the flights, we’re looking to raise $10,000 to $18,000 depending on where we’re departing from,” she said. “We don’t have time to raise funds. It’s a tough time of year. Our national tournament is happening at the same time as many of our divisional sporting events and that makes things more difficult. Children may have to make difficult choices.
If any person or company would like to donate to the Hamilton High School Science Olympiad team, contact Haflich at HHS, 406-375-6060 or send donations to HHS SO, 327 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton, MT 59840 .
The Science Olympiad team from Corvallis Middle School won first place in the Montana competition, in the middle school category.
CMS coaches Darcie Herbstritt and Jenifer Powell said they were happy with their team, had funds to raise and had lots of preparations to make.
“Each of the [the SO competitors] will likely add another event,” Powell said. “We will study, fundraise and hopefully have a few more mentors. All sports go, we have softball, baseball, track and field, so they try to juggle. This is our first national tournament in three years.
CMS has 15 varsity team members and 10 junior varsity competitors.
The CMS SO Varsity rankings are Jeremy Davidson and Kelly Hart – 1st in Meteorology; Jeremy Davidson and Cooper Gividen – 2nd in Rocks & Minerals; Taylor Andersen and Myla Cooper – 2nd in Crime Busters; Martin Sims and Tucker Werhane – 3rd in Crave the Wave; Ayla Middleton and Micah Watters – 3rd in the solar system; Samantha Royce and Micah Watters – 3rd in Disease Detectives; Taylor Andersen and Kaelyn Sanchez – 4th in Anatomy and Physiology; Bode Middleton, Martin Sims and Cooper Gividen – 4th in Codebusters; Cooper Gividen and Tucker Werhane – 4th in Road Scholar; Bode Middleton and Ayla Middleton – 4th in wheeled vehicle; Kirsten Race and Kelly Hart – 4th in Write It/Do It; Anya Hammill and Reilly Nelson – 8th in bridges; Anya Hammill, Kristen Race and Kaelyn Sanchez – 14th in Experimental Design; and Myla Cooper and Reilly Nelson – 20th in forestry.
“I’m still a little bit shocked to have won the state championship,” said eighth-year CMS SO member Tucker Werhane. “The national championships will be very exciting. It will be fun to travel this far with a school group. I love math and science and am considering a career in astronautical engineering. I need a lot of math and science. It basically works outside of Earth’s atmosphere and there’s a lot of physics in there. »
“It’s really nerve-wracking,” said seventh-grade CMS SO member Kirsten Race. “There are bigger schools in bigger states. They have a larger pool of students with tougher selection for their teams. I’m just a little scared. [My event] “Write It / Do It” taught me how to stay calm under pressure. »
HHS and CMS plan to fundraise and travel together for the National Science Olympiad competition in Wichita, Kansas, which begins May 20.
The coaches of both teams know each other well. HHS Coach Vanessa Bleibtrey Haflich was a freshman during the first year CMS Coach Jennifer Powell taught.
Send donations to the Corvallis Middle School Science Olympiad team at CMS SO, Corvallis School District #1, 1151 Eastside Highway, Corvallis, MT 59828.
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