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Science Olympiad


May 12, 2022

Photo courtesy of Meredith Smith

Belleville High School Science Olympiad Varsity and JV Teams Front Row (L-R): Coach Meredith Smith and Carson Heller. Second Row (L-R): Skyler Beyer, Gina Salmela, Zach Thole, Tony Diaz, Alex Shrader, Ella Blask, Andres Bolanos. Third Row (L-R): Annika Esselstrom, Holly Flick, Alex Steckelis, James Gustafson, Aidan Cook, Mallory Thompson, Risandi Bartle, Matt Loshaw. Back Row (L-R): Cole Monroe, Logan McCullough, Lizzy Lloyd, Alison Thompson, Lexi Radl, Alora Spiegel.

In March of 2020 our Science Olympiad team, along with most everyone else in the nation, was devastated when the world shut down. I am confident that our team would have been on the podium that spring, so I was especially heartbroken for my two seniors, Hansi Bartle and Gianna Diaz, who missed out on this opportunity. Fast forward a couple of months and it was evident that none of my Science Olympiad colleagues from around the state wanted to see the following year's season shuttered, so I, along with a group of Science Olympiad coaches from around the state, worked endless hours on what we thought virtual tournaments could look like and submitted our proposal to the national office.

Photo courtesy of Meredith Smith

The group of 2021 seniors, who were on the team for four years and placed in the top 5 during the virtual 2021 state tournament. From left: Coach Meredith Smith, Emma Anson, Mason Schwoegler, Logan Niesen, Jack Nolden, Roxana Grunenwald, Elise Medenwald, and Jacob Kean (missing from photo).

In 2020-2021 the Belleville team members competed in nine different virtual tournaments in preparation for the state tournament, where the varsity team earned an overall 5th place rating, which was our first top 6 placement since the team's 2016 inception. I wasn't sure how this year would look, since my 2021 varsity team had seven amazing seniors on it, which meant I was losing close to half of my varsity team. I couldn't be more proud of my kids this year, since we just earned an overall 3rd place team score, being beaten only by Marquette University High School and Menomonie High School. The varsity team earned medals in 15 out of 23 events and the JV team earned medals in one event. The varsity team competed against 34 other teams from throughout the state. All but two of the 23 events were in the top 10 and the lowest score was 13th. This year's seniors did a great job at holding our team together by demonstrating true leadership and perseverance.

Some of my favorite things about Science Olympiad include getting to work with great students each and every day while watching them have fun doing and learning science, learning from my students, and seeing how past students are willing to give back by helping run events at the state tournament. It is always bittersweet to say goodbye to students who are in some cases my "other children", but this year will be extra difficult due to the circumstances we have dealt with as a team over the last two years. It was definitely exhausting at times, but being able to attend the state tournament in person at UW-Stevens Point a few weeks ago made it all worth it.


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