In their second year of competition, R.A. Long High School's two Science Olympiad teams finished ninth and 10th out of 19 high school teams in the regional tournament March 10 at Lower Columbia College.
"That was our goal — to try and make the top 10 this year, and that was really neat," R.A. Long coach John Tietjen said Tuesday. "We'll try to keep moving upwards. So many of the other schools are more than twice our size."
"That's a major improvement in one year," said David Rosi, LCC science instructor and one of the Olympiad organizers. "That's uncommon. It takes a lot of effort on the part of teams and coaches — and everything has to work right."
Thirty-two middle and high schools sent 38 teams to the tournament, Rosi said. The Olympiad is comprised of 23 events testing students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Third-year entrant Mark Morris also improved from the previous year, placing 17th overall, Rosi said. Only the top six teams go to state, so no Longview teams are moving up.
In the middle school division, first-year entrant Huntington Middle School placed 12th out of 15.
"The first year a school comes, it's hard to score really well," Rosi said. "The kids had a good time, which is really the important part the first year."
Individual event standouts:
• Josh Arquette and Dillon Look from R.A. Long's Red team took first place in the gravity vehicle event, in which a team must design, build and test a vehicle and ramp that uses gravitational potential energy as the vehicle's sole means of propulsion to reach a target point as quickly, as accurately and as close to the team's predicted time as possible.
• Julian Stalick and Sierra Hughey from the Red team took second place in helicopters. Students had to construct and test a free-flight rubber-band-powered helicopter and keep it aloft as long as possible.
• Alex Pickett and Tyler McLain-Watkins from R.A. Long's Black team took fourth in the gravity vehicle event.
• Jackson Bates and Jessica Johanson-Kubin from the Black team took fourth in Fermi questions. Fermi is a science-related question that seeks a fast, rough estimate of a quantity that is difficult or impossible to measure directly.
• Austin Brumbaugh from Mark Morris took fourth in optics, answering questions about geometrical and physical optics.
• Grant Avalon and Zac Skaugset of Mark Morris took fourth in Write It/Do It, in which a student writes a description of a contraption and another student re-creates it using only the written description.