Chaminade Team Earns a Record 4th-Place Finish in New York State Tournament
Dimitrios Donas ’23
Over the course of the 2021-2022 school year, members of Chaminade High School’s Science Olympiad Team, led by Bro. Benjamin Knapp S.M. ’93, engaged in numerous competitions that resulted in historic success.
One does not need to look further than Chaminade’s morning announcements to know that multiple members excelled at their respective events, achieving high placings.
Throughout the season, students showed their commitment to the team, working to hone their skills by practicing their events each day after school; it was not uncommon, for example, to see team members testing their “ping pong parachutes” in the gymnasium following the day’s classes.
Success in Science Olympiad is dependent on the process of applying one’s accumulated knowledge in a field for the purpose of excelling in an event. For this reason, properly preparing is crucial for competition and, ultimately, for placing high.
Science Olympiad competitions offer numerous events that cover an array of topics. Build events require teams to put together projects for the purpose of testing on competition day. For example, a team of two or three competitors may construct bridges for the purpose of testing their stability, or they might craft wooden planes with the goal of successfully flying them for extended periods of time.
Test events involve team members devoting their time to the research of a particular topic. These studies culminate in written tests that evaluate students’ knowledge on what they have studied. Some of the topics covered in test events are Dynamic Planet, Anatomy and Physiology, and Astronomy.
Lastly, hybrid events incorporate both the practical aspect of building events and the research aspect of test events. Hybrid events may come in the form of labs, which test competitors on their ability to build a device before taking an exam based on their work.
Chaminade’s Science Olympiad Team participated in its most difficult—and most prestigious—competition in March, where the team competed in the New York State tournament held at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York. On March 18th and 19th, Flyers competed against the best teams from across the state in a series of events.
The elevated level of competition proved to be a challenge for Chaminade. Louis Desano ’23 stated, “The tests were definitely harder, but the biggest difference for us was the pressure. We’d been preparing since August, and it was essentially the finale of our season. Seeing it all pay off was extremely rewarding.”
The result of the state competition was indeed rewarding, as Chaminade placed 4th—the highest ever for a Catholic high school in NYS tournament history. Chaminade’s preparation throughout the season, which spanned from August to March, was vital to Science Olympiad’s record-breaking year.
Andrew Brites ’23, a competitor in Dynamic Planet, Experimental Design, and Environmental Chemistry, said, “With the cumulative knowledge and experience from the several invitationals and countless open lab practices, we became the strongest-ever Chaminade High School Science Olympiad Team going into the competition.”
Bro. Ben particularly attributes the team’s success to his senior competitors. In their final seasons as Chaminade students, Charlie Ambach ’22, Michael Mecalizzi ’22, and Tristen Ventura ’22 were all vital to Chaminade’s success in the regular season, as well as in the state tournament.
Though the team will be without these senior competitors next year, Bro. Ben has confidence in the team’s ability to continue competing at a high level, saying, “We have a talented group of current sophomores and juniors. If they step up to the challenge, we should be positioned to compete for a high placing again next year.”