Depleted Olympiad team finishes 14th

The Science Olympiad team competed at the state level Saturday, despite a shortage of members.

“We lost some strong kids, but we were able to get a bunch of replacements,” high school team adviser Paula Ladd said. “In the end, the high school team was able to get 14th place out of 42 teams.”

Sophomore Erin Yandel explained how the team did due to the absences.

“Our team was smaller [compared to regionals]. I think it’s because it’s Spring Break so kids just didn’t want to come or would already be on vacation,” she said. “Based on what I’ve heard [others say], some people did well [on their individual events], but some did bad.”

Sophomore Matthew Booe agreed.

“Lots of people were unable to come or were unsure if they could,” he said. “The [team member] count at the beginning of the week was about seven people [out of the possible 15 members]. Now we have 13 because of the replacements.”

Sophomore Valerie Kobzarenko was one of the team’s replacements.

“Due to the date which coincides with Spring Break, some people were unable to make it. I was swept away by a tsunami of emotion when I was able to reunite with the Science Olympiad team,” she said.

Yandel says the pre-competition challenges made the competition more difficult.

“None of us knew what events we were doing or where they were,” she said. “None of us even had the wristbands that allowed us into the events. We were rushing to events and going to events we didn’t know were doing.”

Ladd listed other difficulties that the team faced.

“The competition gets more and more competitive each year in the state of Florida,” she said. “The students also need to spend more time preparing for the competition.”

Yandel says she is proud of how the team performed.

“We gave it our best effort so I think we did well,” she said.

by Andrew Lim