By: Nicholas Sathi ’20
Chaminade has been known to have a competitive Science Olympiad program for many years. Every competition season, the varsity team participates in the Nassau-West Regional Tournament and qualifies for the New York State Tournament in Syracuse. With a consistent record of excellence, these students certainly push themselves to qualify for the State Tournament each year. This year was no exception. Having been preparing for competitions as early as the beginning of the school year, these students were ready to prove themselves and once again earn a spot in Syracuse. With experiences from several previous invitational tournaments under their belts, they were able to come up with some truly creative ideas over the course of the last few months. The Regional Tournament is what they had been preparing for all along, as it would determine whether or not their season would continue.
Around one week before the tournament, head coach Bro. Benjamin Knapp, S.M. ’93 privately spoke to his varsity students to motivate them for their important day. He reminded them of the expectation, which was to qualify for the State Tournament, but also to strive for even higher goals. Each year, Chaminade typically finishes Regionals in 3rd place. He challenged the team to do even better. He recognized the potential in his students to be the greatest team at the competition.
On February 2, 2019, Chaminade’s A, B, and C teams arrived at Kellenberg Memorial High School for a long but exciting day of competition. The awards ceremony did not start until 6 P.M., and the wait certainly felt much longer than it actually was. When the ceremony began, the varsity team immediately started to see impressive results. Out of the twenty-three events in which students competed, Chaminade’s varsity group earned medals in twenty-one of them, meaning they finished within the top eight rankings of these events. This achievement surpassed last year’s, when students earned medals in eighteen events. In addition, every student on the varsity team earned at least one medal.
Finally, the top ten ranking teams overall were announced. The top five would go to States. Chaminade A, for the first time in several years, earned 2nd place, falling short only to Great Neck South, an exceptionally competitive school. The students lived up to Bro. Benjamin’s challenge and reached a higher goal.
Aidan Creeron ’19, one of the club’s presidents, reflected on Team A’s performance, saying, “With an already impressive start to the season, I was extremely proud of how the team did. We have dedicated countless hours to preparation and should be extremely proud of our accomplishments. Earning 2nd overall in a region as tough as Nassau-West isn’t a small feat.”
Bro. Benjamin expressed pride in his students after their performances, saying, “I think Team A really rose to the occasion at Regionals. The performance level was outstanding, overall. Having worked with these students for the past five months, it is clear to me that this Team A is immensely talented and has the drive, has the enthusiasm, to continue pushing to new heights. As for States, I think Team A can meet or exceed our best finish ever (8th in 2016). I think the talent and the drive are there, and if everyone, and I mean everyone, continues to work and push himself, that goal will be realized in March.”
Teams B and C also performed very well, and some students on these teams earned medals too. Team B finished in 16th place and Team C finished in 23rd place. Out of 39 competing teams, these numbers are quite impressive, and they show that Chaminade Science Olympiad will likely remain a strong program in future years.
Currently, at the peak of their competition season, Chaminade Science Olympiad students will continue to work very hard. Members of the A Team certainly have much to prepare for in order to succeed at States, but this team has proven to be a special group. Already having done better at all of their tournaments this year than last year, they will hopefully continue this streak and finish the State Tournament with the highest results Chaminade has ever produced. As they have proven over and over again, these students definitely know what they need to do in order to achieve something special.