ALGONQUIN – The students who form the Jacobs High School Science Olympiad team have spent this week refining their scientific know-how as they vie for a state championship against the top high school olympiads.
Jacobs coach Phil Timm said the 14 varsity students who placed second in the regional competition against 13 area high schools on March 16 had the best regional finish at Jacobs in the past three years.
Last year’s olympiads finished fourth in regionals and ultimately placed second in the state competition. But Timm wasn’t making any bold predictions about this year’s contest.
“Obviously, the students will do their best,” Timm said. “I cannot ask for more.”
Fresh off the strong regional finish, the varsity team, composed of seven seniors and seven juniors, has been studying concepts and test experiments and reviewing how they prepared for regionals in anticipation of the state finals April 20 at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Timm said.
For the competition, the students have to apply scientific concepts to real world situations, such as soil erosion, weather models and architecture, in 23 events.
The team tends to perform best in competitions involving anatomy, biology, chemistry and physics, and they perform worse in categories such as forestry, rocks and minerals, since those subjects aren’t taught at Jacobs, Timm said.
The team will square off against students from the top 40 high school science olympiad teams throughout the state, including New Trier, Stevenson, Willowbrook and Libertyville.
The shorthanded junior varsity team also had a strong finish at regionals that included two first-place event finishes. All told, the 18 members at both varsity and junior varsity levels took home 37 medals.
The 18 students are Emily Alessio, Jexenia Bennett, Sara Ciavarella, Nick Johanson, Dan Kosmas, Matt Messina, Siv Yeramatti, Thomas Chirayil, Michelle Lamblin, Kristy Ma, Hari Manikindan, Justin Richman, Aoon Rizvi, Jason Schnecke, Jon Yan, Tarush Vig, Liam Frost and Tiger Shi.
“I am proud of how the team has done,” Timm said. “They are a great group to work with, and their success is related to their work. But I would be proud regardless of how they scored.”