A Successful End Product: Chaminade’s Varsity Science Olympiad Team Finishes 13th in State Tournament

Top-10 finishes were made by Dan Hepworth ’18, Peter Camporeale ’18, Aidan Creeron ’19, Nick Plante ’18, Nick Richardson ’18, and Nick Newton ’19, pictured here from left to right.

Eby Nicholas Sathi ’20

Each year in March, approximately 50 of the best Science Olympiad teams in New York compete at Le Moyne College in Syracuse in the annual Division C New York State Tournament.  The demands are high, as only the top two ranking teams become eligible to qualify for the National Tournament in May. Making it to this year’s state finals was a terrific achievement for Chaminade’s devoted Olympiad members, but they had bigger goals in mind.

Over the course of the 2017–2018 season, the students have been working tremendously hard to succeed despite the numerous obstacles thrown their way.  With many roster changes, key members falling ill at the wrong time, conflicting time commitments and more, the Flyers definitely struggled to reach their fullest potential over the last few months.

Nevertheless, the students were able to pull through at the Nassau-West Regional Competition in February to earn a spot at Le Moyne.  It was a major breakthrough for them, and, with two practice tournaments in between at the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University, respectively, the students felt very prepared and gained a lot of momentum on their way to Syracuse.  Especially noteworthy was the A team’s 11th-place finish at the latter of these invitationals. Better yet, if the entire team had been there, they were projected to have finished eighth out of over 40 teams from around the country.

The trip to States was long and, at times, stressful, as the students left for Syracuse early in the morning on Friday, March 9.  Understanding the demands that this level of competition presents, the students tried with all their hearts to better their rival schools.  After a pressure-filled, competitive weekend, the young men proved their potential to succeed, as they placed 13th overall in the tournament and within the top 10 in several individual events, as well.

The team gathers for a photo before their events early Saturday morning.

Some of the day’s highest finishes were posted by Nick Richardson ’18 and Nick Newton ’19 (seventh place in Game On), and Peter Camporeale ’18 and Dan Hepworth ’18 (ninth place in Write It Do It).

Newton (l.) and Richardson (r.) worked their way to a seventh-place finish in Game On.

Regarding the tournament, team president Nick Plante ’18 said, “Well, it’s not exactly where we were expecting to place going into this season.  Our hopes were high—we were aiming for another top-10 finish—but we met a number of unforeseen obstacles along the way. Considering the slump we found ourselves in two months ago, though, I couldn’t help but walk away from the States award ceremony with a smile.”

The most evident aspect of character among the team members was their camaraderie and devotion.  

“Together, we proved that we’re a team that won’t back down, said Nick. “We worked hard, and we should all be proud.”  

This did not go unrecognized, as the students earned the Division C Spirit Award, which recognizes the friendly attitude and sense of brotherhood they put on display throughout the year.

As the season has come to a conclusion, it is now time to look ahead to the future of Science Olympiad at Chaminade.  

Creeron (l.) and Plante (r.) finished seventh in the state in Anatomy and Physiology—Chaminade’s highest placing in this event in recent memory.

“This tournament not only left us with great memories and achievements, but it also gave us a burning sense of hope and optimism for next year’s season,” said Aidan Creeron ’19.

Aidan really shined in his first year as a member of the A team, with noteworthy seventh- and 11th-place finishes in Anatomy and Physiology and Experimental Design, respectively.

Head coach Bro. Benjamin Knapp, S.M. ’93 reflected on his team’s passion for the club, saying, “It was great to see the camaraderie develop over the course of the year, having traveled to and competed in so many tournaments.  There was a marvelous team chemistry; that doesn’t happen overnight, for sure.”

He also showed a lot of optimism for next year, adding,  “We have a lot of talent for next year in the junior and sophomore divisions, but we’ll need to continue to keep things rolling.”

The team’s overall finish puts the Flyers in the top three percent in New York, one of the most competitive states for Olympiad, as the pool consists of around 440 teams.  

Already determined to succeed next season, it is evident that the admirable devotion and work ethic of this year’s club members will live on.  With a brand new lab on its way and plenty of underclassmen waiting for their chance to shine, Science Olympiad at Chaminade will only continue to improve.