By: Staff Writer Brian Tseng
MSJ students competed in the Sandia National Laboratories Regional High School Science Bowl on February 27 at Las Positas College and placed third out of the 24 teams participating. Monte Vista High School took second place, while Dougherty Valley High School was first and will be competing in the 2016 National Science Bowl.
Juniors Catherine Zeng, Jeffrey Liu, and Arthur Chen, and Sophomores Ashish Ramesh and Allen Mao took part in the competition as part of MSJ’s Team A, while Juniors Jessika Baral and Mark Choi, Sophomore Sylvia Jin, and Freshmen Andrew Chen and Aadithya Pillai were members of MSJ’s Team B. While Team B did not compete, Team A was undefeated in its round robin bracket and made it to the semifinals in the double elimination round, receiving a trophy for their efforts. Though MSJ was knocked out of the running by Monte Vista High School, they lost by only eight points. Liu says, “Next year I want us to score more points than the other team so that we can win.”
Science Bowl is a high school science competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. It is a buzzer-style competition that tests knowledge on a range of science disciplines, such as biology, chemistry, earth science, physics, energy, and math. 12 counties competed in the Sandia National Laboratories Regional High School Science Bowl, which is one of 70 regional tournaments held throughout the country. The winning team of each regional competition moves on to the National Science Bowl, which takes place in Washington DC.
The types of questions that are used in Science Bowl alternate between two types of questions: toss-up questions, which either team can buzz in to answer, and bonus questions, which are given to teams that correctly answer the previous toss-up question. Toss-ups are worth four points, while bonuses are worth ten. Each match consists of two eight-minute halves, with a two-minute break in between.
The last time MSJ has made it to the National Science Bowl was in 2013, though MSJ usually places in the regional competition. Prizes at the national competition include all-expense paid trips to national parks for the top two teams and donations for the science departments of the top 16 schools.
“Our final rounds were extremely close, so we were somewhat disappointed that we didn’t advance to finals,” said Zeng. “Third place is still very prestigious for a relatively young team, and I am proud of how well my team performed.” Those interested in participating in Science Bowl should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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