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Science Olympiad State Tournament

Kraemer%27s+Science+Olympiad+poses+after+the+competition.
Kraemer's Science Olympiad poses after the competition.

Kraemer's Science Olympiad poses after the competition.

Aaron C.

Aaron C.

Kraemer's Science Olympiad poses after the competition.

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This past Saturday, the Kraemer Science Olympiad competed at the California Institute of Technology with a goal of moving forward to compete at the national level. To do this, the team needed to emerge from the tournament with a first place trophy, which meant beating 30 other teams.

At Kraemer, competition for the team was intense. Over 80 students competed throughout the year for the 15 spots of the state tournament team. Their competition originally kicked off at the Kraemer scrimmage, a competition that narrowed the original 80 students to 30 competitors that could move on to compete at Churchill invitational in Sacramento. From there, data was taken from the results to determine the next set of 30 people ready to compete for the next invitationals. The process repeated throughout the next 4 invitationals, (Ladera Vista, Kraemer, Mesa-Wilson, Wicklund/Mountain House) and  the Orange County regional competition. Kraemer’s team won first place at the Ladera Vista invitational, but was beaten by Irvine team Jeffrey Trail Middle School at the Kraemer invitational, Mesa-Wilson invitational, and Orange County regionals. Knowing this, the team expected to be beaten by Jefferey Trail at states, but worked hard to take down the team. At the end of the long invitational run, head coach and 7th grade science teacher Shaun Evola selected the varsity team that would compete at states. The varsity team was composed of 15 people, with six 7th graders and nine 8th graders, all who had put in countless hours this year to try to win this competition.

The day of the competition, April 8th, started when all 15 competitors met at CalTech at 7 A.M. For the 1 hour and 15 minutes they were there, the team studied while they waited for the first set of events to start. This cycle continued through six timeslots, until the last time slot finished at 3:55. All the events were hosted by Caltech and the  Polytechnic School. Then the team waited a few long anxious hours before the awards ceremony, which was scheduled to happen at 5:30. At 5:30, all 15 team members, along with Mr. Evola, walked into the huge CalTech auditorium. Speeches by renowned scientists greeted all 31 of the teams, but all that was in all the team’s minds was, “Who is going to nationals?” After the speeches, which lasted about 15 anxious minutes, presenters started to announce the awards for the night. All across the board, the scores looked to favor Kraemer over Jeffrey Trail Middle School. When the final scores were announced, competitors nervously sat at the edge of their seats, because this was the moment that the entire year came down to.

6th Place – Pacific Trails (San Diego County)

5th Place – Black Mountain (San Diego County)

4th Place – Carmel Valley (San Diego County)

From this, the team knew that the top 3 spots would go to Kraemer, Jefferey Trail, or Oak Valley middle school. Third place was called…

3rd Place – Jefferey Trail (Orange County)

The team’s main competitor was eliminated from the competition, but Kraemer was confused that such a strong team could come in 3rd place. The team has been hoping for the announcer to say, “Second Place… Oak Valley.” But nope!

2nd Place – Kraemer (Orange County)

Kraemer state Science Olympiad competitor Sharon W. expresses how she felt at that moment, “At that moment, my heart just sank. Our entire team worked so hard for this. At the point when Jefferey Trail was called for 3rd place, we knew we thought it, but apparently we didn’t.” At that moment, the entire season was over. All the blood, sweat, and tears the team had  put in had amounted to a 2nd place trophy. The team got on stage with little happiness, but barely managed to put out for some smiles for their team photo. As the team got off the stage with their heads hanging down, first place was called.

1st Place – Oak Valley (San Diego County)

“It was a true shocker, Oak Valley had always been a strong team, but I never expected them to take the title. They came out of nowhere,” exclaimed Kraemer state competitor Mitchell H.

After the huge disappointment, the states team had dinner together a few miles from CalTech. During dinner, the team checked the individual scores, and realized that they could have easily gone to nationals. However, they blew 5 events. If those events went right, the team could have won the competition in a landslide. Kraemer Science Olympiad competitor Yunji K. explains, “We worked extremely hard and finally beat our rival school, but in the end, because of some bombed events, another school is going to nationals. States is one of the most important, if not the most important competition of the season, and the fact that the little things (the poorly written tests, and broken voltage meters), were one cause of us losing to another school by 15 points, is pretty frustrating. Next year, the team will definitely work even harder, and I am pretty confident we can even make it to nationals.” Six, out of twenty three events, stacked up a whopping 90 points, out of the final score of 150.

Looking back, the team realized that we did beat our best competitor, got second place, and had a lot of fun while doing so. Shout out to the events Rocks and Minerals, and Road Scholar for winning first place and beating all 30 other teams! Overall, the team has come very far and looks forward to a first place title next year.

 

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Science Olympiad State Tournament