Science Olympiad is back in full swing as Clark looks to defend its 2016-2017 state championship and emulate the immense success of years past.
Led by presidents Shan Reddy and Alisha Yi alongside club advisors Mr. Miller and Ms. Erickson, the Clark Science Olympiad team is now transitioning out of tryout mode and into competition mode. Over eighty Clark students competed to earn one of fifteen spots on the coveted ‘A Team,’ followed hierarchically by teams B through E. These fifteen represent the best of the Science Olympiad team and ultimately represent Clark HS at the National Competition in Colorado later in 2018. They will also be competing in highly selective invitational tournaments at Berkeley and MIT in January.
Bringing together some of the top science minds in the state, competition within the school was fierce. When the dust settled after two full weeks of daily afterschool testing, five teams were created.
While seniority may give more seasoned members a better chance of making the top two teams, nothing is guaranteed; competitive underclassmen often give experienced students a run for their money. Last years nationals team of fifteen students only had five seniors. In previous years events such as Write it Do it, Anatomy, and Disease Detectives have been among the most competitive.
“The competition is insane,” says senior Jay Desai, who tried out for Anatomy and Disease Detectives this year. “The biology events tend to be super competitive. Disease Detectives alone had over thirty students testing at once last week.”
This competitive nature has paid off historically. Mr. Miller has maintained this tryout system for the past four years – since then, Clark has not fallen short of first place at states.
“I can’t emphasize the importance of the tryouts enough,” says Miller.
“Our tryout system puts our students in intense preparation mode months before the rest of the schools in the state,” says President Shan Reddy. “We enter competitions confident that we have already been competing against the best of the best without even leaving the school. Where it gets really tough is at nationals – our goal this year is to crack the top ten in the nation.”
It’s a goal that Clark has been approaching for years. Last year, the team placed higher than they ever had before: twenty-eighth nationally out of around sixty teams.
“Our team’s overarching goal is to be the best we can be,” says Vice President Evan Crosby. “We prepare systematically and attentively – this year, we’re looking to success at nationals as the ultimate goal.”