CRYSTAL LAKE – A pair of successful high school science olympiad teams from Crystal Lake District 155 will look to secure a state championship during the Illinois Science Olympiad finals Saturday.
Students on Crystal Lake Central’s olympiad team secured a state bid for the eighth time in the past nine years after placing second at regionals last month at the College of Lake County.
Crystal Lake South’s science olympiads also made the trip to the state finals for the sixth consecutive year after a historic best third-place finish at regionals.
Neither of District 155’s high school teams has ever won a state championship, but both teams will look to reverse that trend when they face off against the likes of Stevenson High School, New Trier and others Saturday at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“My assistant coach Brian Pelz and I, along with several volunteer coaches, have watched this team grow and blossom into the kind of kids that any coach or parent could be proud of,” Central coach Douglas Wilbrandt said. “We hope to do well downstate, but only time, with a little luck mixed in, will tell.”
The Central team will send a combination of upper and underclassmen on the 15-member varsity team to compete in 23 events, including forensics, chemistry lab and thermodynamics.
The Central team finished 12th last year at state, but Wilbrandt believes the team has improved enough to compete for a title this year. He said numerous students on the team have been working on the science olympiad events since the summer.
“You never know how things work out, but we are ready,” he said.
The South team also is taking 14 upper and underclassmen to state, as the team tries to achieve its ultimate goal of a state championship.
South coach Katie Bulman said she was proud of the team’s work and dedication to science and engineering, regardless of Saturday’s outcome.
“They have truly been a great bunch of kids and a pleasure to learn and grow with,” Bulman said.
The varsity students on Central’s team are Jonathon Bodnariuc, Sofie Bracher, Jake Cannizzo, Paul Geschke, Kush Gupta, Becca Harmon, Greg Harmon, Elisabeth Hoirup, Colleen Laird, Ethan Lockwood, Nick Longfield, Elizabeth Schmidt, Kurt Widhalm, Brenna Wing and Charlotte Wirth.
The varsity students on South’s team are Lauren Barmore, Amy Caulk, Zach Clewell, Laura Deemer, Kyle Dinse, Silpa Gali, Nate Grabowski, Scotty Hornbostel, Andy Koltun, Tyler Munn, Mike O’Reilly, Greg Trende, Jeannie Van Vianen and Henry Wu.