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FHS takes first, third at Science Bowl

Farragut High School took two teams to a recent Science Bowl held at Tennessee Technological University, and both teams finished in the top three.

Kristin Baksa, chemistry teacher and co-coach, said, “It’s exciting. We’re proud. It’s a great way for these guys to show what they know.”

Team One, composed of Tyler Whittle, Vivek Patel, Michael McCormick, Kyle Peterson and Timm Moon, won first-place at the competition. Team Two, composed of Jesse Jones, Jack Larson, Dennis Meng, Justin Menestrina and Andrew Mungan, won third-place at the competition, held Saturday, Nov. 17, losing to Oak Ridge High School in the finals. Amanda Wehner, FHS chemistry teacher, also served as a Science Bowl co-coach.

The two FHS teams competed against each other early in the tournament.

“We went undefeated in our qualifying match, then we had to play Team One in the playoffs,” Mungan, Team Two captain, said. “We lost to them by a couple of points. We got put into the loser’s bracket since it was a double-elimination tournament. We made it to the finals in the loser’s bracket, and Team One made it to the finals in the winner’s bracket, so if we would have won our last match we would’ve played Team One again. Unfortunately we lost to Oak Ridge by one question; it was very close. We had a great time.”

McCormick, Team One captain, said he served as an alternate for Team One and captain for Team Two at the regional competition last year.

Being captain means, “I answer the bonus [questions], other than that it’s pretty much the team working together,” he said.

How did McCormick’s previous experience help him this year?

“It made a difference because we knew what we were weak on. We knew we needed to learn astronomy and electricity and magnetism for earth science,” he said. “After last year we realized you tend to forget biology and chemistry if you don’t look over it, so [this year] we have Vivek [Patel] for biology, which he’s just been clutch on, and we all started looking back over chemistry.”

Whittle, Science Club president, said he did not have the advantage of previous science bowl experience.

“I participated in practice last year, but I didn’t go to any competitions. I did Science Olympiad last year, but not Science Bowl,” he said. “I was a bit nervous. I wasn’t sure what it would be like. We practice a lot before the competition, but I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I was pleased at how well we did.

“It seemed to be easier [than expected]. It was more buzz fast, but the answers were fairly easy. We practiced some harder questions from the National Science Bowl Web site, so now we’re going to work on developing quicker buzzing and stuff like that,” he added.

Mungan agreed.

“We didn’t think [it was difficult]. We practiced harder questions on our own, so it made the questions easier for us,” he said.

FHS took two teams because, “The number of interested students. They want to play,” Baksa said. “My [class]room is full on Wednesdays and Fridays when we practice. It’s loud, wild and they have a great time doing it. We had three teams that wanted to go, but they couldn’t guarantee us three spots at the competition.”

“There is a lot of interest in this. These guys perpetuate that; they just build it up. The Science Club is really active with Science Bowl and Science Olympiad. Many of these students also play in the Scholars Bowl,” she added.

What’s next for the teams?

“The D-O-E state competition’s in February. It’ll pretty much be the same teams as at Tennessee Tech. If we win that, we get to go to Nationals in Washington D.C,” Whittle said.

FHS did not have to participate in this competition to be eligible to compete in the regional competition in February, but Baska said, “There’s not many Science Bowls, so when there is one, we’re going to go.”


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