The SO teams from White Pines Intermediate School, Lakeshore Middle School and Grand Haven High School will compete Saturday at Grand Valley State University.
In preparation for the 2018 season, all three teams have participated in invitational events. This year is the first time Lakeshore and White Pines teams participated in an invitational.
“Our students are well prepared,” GHHS head coach Mike Reed said.
White Pines head coach Rhonda Bird said the invitational gave her team a chance to see how they can work together and provided some experience competing.
Students also competed in the Blue and Gold tournament, which is against peers in their same grade level.
Although many students practice with the team and are involved in Science Olympiad, teams are only allowed to have 15 students compete in 23 events at the tournaments. Teams can also have alternative participants in trial events.
At the high school level, 28 students are involved in the team. About 75 sixth- and seventh-graders initially got involved with the White Pines team, and 35 eighth- and ninth-graders signed up for the Lakeshore team.
“It’s amazing to see the sheer volume and number of students who’ve been involved,” Lakeshore Middle School head coach Nate Mihalek said.
Reed said that some events require “a great deal of study and depth of knowledge,” and some students started preparing for the events they are interested in during the summer.
As Joseph Mazor prepared for the laser shoot-out portion of the Optics event, the seventh-grader said he enjoys the event because he likes physics.
“It’s just an obsession I have,” he said.
This season, Mazor spent time practicing for several events — Optics, Rocks and Minerals, Experimental Design, Potions and Poisons, Towers, Thermodynamics, Solar System, and Dynamic Planet.
Mazor said he’s a little nervous about the upcoming regional competition. But the best part about Science Olympiad is that it pushes him, he said.
“It’s a challenge,” Mazor said.
Seventh-grader Kyla Streng said she enjoys learning about her events, and the coaches and fellow teammates are nice.
“It’s a really positive environment,” she said.
At the beginning of the season, Streng practiced for 11 events. She will be competing in five at the regional tournament: Fast Facts, Crime Busters, Anatomy and Physiology, Mystery Architecture, and Write It Do It.
Looking ahead, Streng said her goal is to do her best, compete and learn more along the way.
“It’s just a really fun experience,” the 13-year-old said of SO.