WPHS students take third at Science Olympiad: Earn a chance to take game plan to state

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The 15-member Woodland Park High School Science Olympiad team took third place in the South Regional Science Olympiad competition on March 2.

The top 15 teams at the south regionals will join the top 15 from the north regionals at the state championship on April 20 at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden.

“Two years in a row we've missed qualifying for state by one place,” said high school science teacher Kendall Hovel, who along with science teacher Shannon Bird coaches the team. “Our goal this year was just making it to state. Taking third overall was a surprise.”

The Science Olympiad is a combination of building events and testing, said senior Erika Furnes, a seven-year veteran of the contest.

`The building events are a lot of fun,” she said. “And I like spending the whole day with my teammates.”

Teams of two or three students take on a minimum of two events, although one student, David Cruse, 17, worked on six events, including one building project.

Hovel provided the following statistics of interest:

Third place out of 29 teams.

Placed in the top 10 in 17 of 23 events.

Placed in the top 5 in 10 of 23 events.

Earned four second-place medals: Chem Lab-Bryce Hickham and David Cruse, Fermi Questions-David Cruse and Erika Furnes, Rocks and Minerals-Michelle Franke and Caleb Bickel and Water Quality-Alyssa Meier and Michelle Franke.

Qualified for State Competition on April 20.

Hovel added that the Woodland Park High School team wasn't the only team at regionals with a Teller County connection.

“The Homeschool (Science) team, coached by Cheryl Osteroos, … has been dominating the competition the last few years,” he stated in an email. “I believe she is from Divide. They won first at regionals last year and this year and took second at state last year.”