Uni’s Science Olympiad team’s season ended this past Saturday at its State tournament, where it competed against 49 other qualifying high school teams from across Illinois.
After a day filled with over 20 events reaching across many scientific disciplines, the team, led by captains Allie Kim and Tori Kindratenko, finished in a respectable 30th place out of all Science Olympiad teams in the state. The team’s state performance included a very impressive 5th place finish in the Herpetology event by sophomores Aryan Lalwani and Jonathan Lau.
The team had earlier competed at their Regional tournament, where Uni finished in 1st place, thus qualifying the team for the State tournament.
“My favorite moment of the season was during the awards ceremony for the Regional competition. Nobody felt like they did that well in their events, so it was a really nice surprise to see a lot of our team get medals,” said Kim. “We actually ended up winning regionals, which was really exciting.”
At both the Regional and State competitions, Uni was placed in division AA, which is the higher of the two divisions in Illinois Science Olympiad and includes the most competitive teams in the state. This is a change from the past, when Uni’s team had competed in division A. The incredible success of last year’s team, which finished 2nd in the state in division A, led to Uni going up against stiffer competition this year.
“I think we did pretty well this season given that we were a mostly underclassman team,” said Kindratenko. “Thanks to our success at state last year, we were bumped up to the higher division this year. We’re already planning on how to improve our performance for next year and we want to place higher overall.”
The team had been practicing since November to prepare for its State run. Team members each prepare for 3 to 5 events which consist of 2 or 3 people each. Different types of events include study events where team members research to prepare to take a test, build-it events where team members build a device to perform a certain task, and lab events where team members perform experiments.
“Science Olympiad is fun because of the teamwork, the preparation for events together, and the general atmosphere of having a good time,” said Kindratenko. “My favorite moments of the season are the build days where we meet up on the weekends and work together to build something or to study and prepare for a test.”
“The competitions are stressful and we don’t get a lot of sleep in the days leading up to them, but we still enjoy the program as a whole,” said Kim. “There’s a lot of team camaraderie.”
The future is bright for Uni Science Olympiad. With a couple exceptions, the team consisted solely of freshmen and sophomores.
“I’m really proud of the team because a lot of them are new to Science Olympiad and are already so dedicated, so I know they’ll go far,” said Kindratenko. She hinted that a run at Nationals (which teams qualify for by placing 1st or 2nd at State) may be in the cards for the next few years.
From these results, we can conclude that Uni’s Science Olympiad team saw great success this season. Further studies are not needed to know that the team, one of Uni’s premier academic programs, is one to watch over the next several years.