Finishing on a High Note: Chaminade’s Varsity Science Olympiad Team Places 13th at State Competition to Cap off the Season

By Nicholas Sathi ’20

Assistant moderators Mr. Amorizzo ’07 and Mr. Razzano use their knowledge and experience to prepare the Olympians for competition.

In the middle of August, Chaminade’s Science Olympiad program held its first meeting of the 2018-2019 season. While many Flyers were enjoying the last few weeks of summer, members of the Science Olympiad team pursued their passions by beginning their intense preparations for another successful season. Later, after competing in three invitational tournaments during the first half of the season, the team went all out at the Regional Tournament, at which the varsity team earned a trophy for stellar 2nd place finish, thus qualifying for the State Tournament. After participating in two more invitational tournaments, both at Ivy League universities, the varsity team traveled to Syracuse for the State Tournament at Le Moyne College. With their minds set on concluding the season with a strong performance, the team set the work-ethic dial on 10 in preparation for this competitive and challenging weekend.

Some team members and alternates, (l.-r.) Brian Sessa ’22, Daniel Popovich ’20, Tristen Ventura ’22, Patrick Haran ’21, and Joseph Shammas ’22, make adjustments to their experiments between events.

Leaving Chaminade at around 7 A.M. on the morning of Friday, March 15, the Flyers, sharing a bus with fellow Marianist students from Kellenberg Memorial High School, traveled upstate, reading and making notes along the way. While most events would take place the following day, some students’ events were scheduled to take place that very evening. Shortly after arriving at the hotel, these students quickly changed into their proper school attire, many displaying their Science Olympiad ties, and hopped back on the bus to go to Le Moyne. After these events concluded on Friday evening, the students returned to the hotel for a pizza dinner during which head coach Bro. Benjamin Knapp, S.M. ’93 delivered a pep talk. Reminding his competitors to always do their best, he encouraged them to have fun and to give all of their effort towards this one last competition.

After a long night of studying, the Flyers departed for Le Moyne at 6:30 A.M. on Saturday. Participating in events from around 7 A.M. to 3:30 P.M, the Olympians took the intense and exciting day with their typical grace-under-pressure attitudes. As the awards ceremony approached, the anticipation built tremendously. After an incredibly long wait, the awards were finally distributed, and Chaminade once again enjoyed terrific results. The team earned 13th place out of the 56 competitive teams from all across New York State. In total, New York has 680 high school Science Olympiad teams, which means that Chaminade’s team ranked within the top 2% of them. That ranking is truly a magnificent accomplishment that embodies Chaminade’s new emphasis of scientific advancement. While this 13th-place finish was incredible, some students placed even higher in their individual events. Aidan Creeron ’19, Nicholas Newton ’19, and Mark Vincent Guevarra ’19 placed 10th in Experimental Design; Luke Russo ’20 and Nicholas Sathi ’20 placed 10th in Geologic Mapping; Dylan Richardson ’19 and Daniel Popovich ’20 placed 9th in Boomilever; Dylan Richardson ’19 and Charles Ambach ’22 placed 9th in Mousetrap Vehicle; Mark Vincent Guevarra ’19 and Luke Russo ’20 placed 9th in Fermi Questions; Dylan Richardson ’19 and Daniel Popovich ’20 placed 8th in Wright Stuff; and Ryan Schmidt ’19 and Nicholas Sathi ’20 placed 2nd in Water Quality. These students, along with the rest of the team’s members, have worked diligently over the last seven months, and their work ethic was clearly recognized by this impressive finish.

Members of the varsity Science Olympiad team celebrate the fruits of their efforts at the conclusion of the awards ceremony.

In addition to the outstanding academic results the team produced at this tournament, their representation of school spirit and excellent character earned them the Spirit Award for the second consecutive year. Living the ideals that Chaminade works to instill in all of its students, these young men certainly made the Chaminade community proud.

Dylan Richardson ’19 (l.) and Daniel Popovich ’20 (r.) test their boomilever, which earned them a 9th place medal.

Some of the club’s presidents reflected on their final season, pointing out its successes and wishing the best of luck for the program’s future. “As a whole, the season was extremely successful. The team reached new heights by being recognized as the second best team at the Nassau West Regional Tournament, our best finish at this tournament in nine years. Although we did not achieve our ultimate goal at States, there were several impressive placings that showed the strength of the team. The growth of the underclassmen throughout the year will allow for Chaminade to have successful Science Olympiad teams for many years to come,” Ryan Schmidt ’19 exclaimed.

Aidan Creeron ’19 remarked, “At the end of last year’s season, we knew we would have a difficult road ahead of us if we were to reach the same level of success we’d experienced. But the capable, hard-working members of this team never ceased to work to their maximum abilities and dedicated themselves entirely to being the best that they could be. I am extremely proud of every team member, and I am confident that the remaining underclassmen will carry the same work ethic and success into next year’s season.”

Head coach, Bro. Benjamin Knapp, S.M. ’93, was also very pleased with his team’s effort and success. “I am thrilled overall with Team A’s performance this season. We had a number of excellent finishes in the various invitational tournaments, and finishing 13th out of 56 at States, 13th out of 680 in the entire state, is fantastic. I am proud of the team members and their accomplishments this year, and I am grateful for their commitment to Science Olympiad. Science Olympiad is not for the faint of heart.  It takes passion, it takes desire, it takes dedication, and it takes a lot of hard work to compete and to excel at such a high level. The future looks bright too. A number of the junior members of Science Olympiad really stepped up this year in a big way. The juniors, along with the large group of talented freshmen who joined this year, will help to carry Team A next year, and hopefully propel Chaminade Science Olympiad to another excellent finish,” he explained.

Charles Ambach ’22 (l.) and Dylan Richardson ’19 (r.) actually built a better mousetrap, earning them accolades for a 9th-place finish.

With the 2018-2019 season in the books, the club will commence preparations for the next season shortly. The new staff of officers will have huge shoes to fill as the leaders of this year’s program were incredibly efficient, diligent, and highly motivated. While several key senior members will be missed, the talented group of underclassmen will carry on their legacy of excellence.