GH Science Olympiad teams advance

ALLENDALE - All three Science Olympiad teams from Grand Haven Area Public Schools will advance to the state tournament in April after performing well at Saturday's regional competition. Grand Haven High School's team took first place, beating out other high school teams by a wide margin with a score of 43 points. West Ottawa High School took second place with 120 points - with the lower score being the better one. Grand Haven's score was a tournament record, said Mike Reed, head coach of the GHHS team.
Jordan Travis
Mar 29, 2011

“They did extremely well,” Reed said. “It was a good job by everybody.”

In the middle school division, White Pines Middle School placed second with 186 points, and Lakeshore Middle School placed fifth with 201 points.

The regional tournament — consisting of a variety of scientific challenges, ranging from experiment design to robot battles — was held at Grand Valley State University in Allendale.

The three Grand Haven teams were among the 73 competing for 17 spots at the state competition, which will be held April 30 on Michigan State University’s campus in East Lansing.

Rhonda Bird, head coach for White Pines Middle School’s team, said she was pleased with her students’ performance. Not only did the team’s new students do well, she said, but they also placed highly in new events — including “Microbe Mission.” Her team took first place in the event, she said.

Lakeshore Middle School’s team also did well against stiff competition, head coach Nate Mihalek said.
“What we saw was that our regional is one of the toughest regionals in the state,” he said, adding that he was impressed with how well his eighth-graders in lead positions performed.

The team scored somewhat lower than what they expected, Mihalek said.
“We missed some key things that cost us in certain events because of not paying attention to details,” he said.

Bird also said her team would work on the finer points of the competition as they prepare for the state tournament.

During Saturday’s competition, GHHS students Katie Wampler, Rebecca Shay and Carolyn Coutre took a break in the team’s food room. The three were teammates in “Experimental Design.”

“You have to design an experiment, like test it and run it, come up with the data and write the lab report,” Wampler said.

The three teammates said they were finished for the day, and planned to watch “Mission Possible,” one of the last events of the tournament.

When asked if they were nervous before the competition, the three girls laughed. “Definitely,” Shay said. “We’ve all done it before, so we’re used to that. It’s weird if you don’t get nervous.”

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