Science Olympiad places in BEARSO

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Photo provided by Northwood Science Olympiad

BEAR-ING MEDALS; Science Olympiad students proudly display the resources they created in preparation for virtual competition BEARSO.

Jonathan Kang, Staff Writer

The Northwood Science Olympiad team competed at the BEARSO invitational, a virtual tournament hosted by California Science Olympiad coordinators, on Oct. 9.

Sophomore Annie Lee and junior Andy Zhu placed first in Sounds of Music and they placed eighth in Codebusters along with freshman Derek Lee. Freshman Yutong Ke and junior Kaitlin To placed sixth in Ornithology, and Lee along with co-captain senior Andrea Huang and senior William Pan, placed 10th in Experimental and Data Analysis.

“I am proud of the hard work and effort everyone put in in the weeks leading up to the competition,” Huang said. “I think our performance overall sets a good baseline as to how we can each improve as individuals and as a whole team.”

203 teams from 135 schools across the nation competed in 23 events, five of which were exclusive to BEARSO. The BEARSO exclusive events were Cybersecurity, Digital Structures, Experimental and Data Analysis, Helicopter, and Write It CAD It, while the others were national Science Olympiad events. The tournament was the largest national level competition the Northwood Science Olympiad team had attended, with teams from over 15 states including California, Hawaii, Texas and New York.

Northwood sent two teams to compete in the high school division, which implemented the Mini Science Olympiad (Mini SO) model that banned hands-on events from being run.

The competition was run on the Scilympiad website hosted by the official Science Olympiad association, which featured systems such as a list of links to enter the tests for certain events and built-in texting between teammates. However, students were banned from calling each other to make the competition equitable for those with no means of verbal communication.

The Mini SO format also altered the way tests were administered. For construction events, students submitted designs rather than showcasing a completed project. Students competing in study events were monitored on how much time they spent outside of the testing browser to prevent cheating.

“It felt completely different from a normal competition because we couldn’t even talk to each other,” sophomore Shayan Halder said.

The team prepared by taking practice tests every week for their events and communicating online with teammates through Discord. Despite rigorous preparation for BEARSO, the team faced technical difficulties such as tests not being submitted on time and the chat feature malfunctioning, due to delays on the website.

Northwood’s team hopes to continue improving in all their events following their first competition this season with BEARSO, and is currently preparing for the Rickards Invitational on Dec. 5.

“I am happy to see how everyone has continued to support each other as much as we would in person,” Huang said. “This tournament sets a baseline for our growth as a team, and I have no doubts that our motivation will continue to grow throughout the season.”