PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth Notre Dame High School outlasted 37 other academic teams and captured the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) 4th Annual South Central Ohio Regional “Science Bowl” title on Friday, March 11, 2016, at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio.
The victory marked the second time in three years the Titans have won the competition, which consisted of teams from 22 southern Ohio high schools. Although Notre Dame won the event in 2014, it did so this time with a new coach and students who had no Science Bowl experience.
“We really didn’t expect to make it very far,” said junior captain Andrew Smith, who joined juniors Jiten Patel and Grant Sparks and sophomore Joseph Beckett on the team. “We did take some advice from (the 2014 team’s) winning experience.”
The 38 teams competed in a round robin format in the morning with the top two teams from each pool advancing to a 16-team single-elimination tournament. After winning its pool against teams from Portsmouth, Northwest, Paint Valley and Jackson, Notre Dame claimed the championship with tournament victories over Chillicothe, Zane Trace, Minford and Waverly.
“It takes answering some questions at the right time and you need a little luck,” said first-year coach Terry Acox, who said the school’s consistent academic curriculum assisted the team. “We are a fairly small school, but we have a dedicated staff who have been there for several years.”
Besides Notre Dame, other schools that advanced to the tournament round included Chillicothe, Eastern Pike, Green, Jackson, Lucasville Valley, Minford, Northwest, Piketon, Portsmouth, Waverly, and Zane Trace. Eastern Pike, Lucasville Valley, Waverly and Zane Trace each had two teams reach the round of 16.
Other participating schools included Huntington Ross, Pike Christian Academy, Portsmouth West, Sciotoville East, South Webster, Unioto, Vern Riffe Career Technical Center, and Wheelersburg.
“This competition showcases some of the brightest students in southern Ohio,” said Greg Simonton, DOE’s federal coordinator of the event. “The Department would like to thank all the coaches and students for their hard work, and all the sponsors, volunteers and others who played a role in making this a great competition.”
Besides Shawnee State University, partners and supporters of the event included* the Portsmouth Site Specific Advisory Board, the Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative, Herrnstein Auto Group, The Ohio Academy of Science, Centrus Energy Corp., and site contractors (Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth, Restoration Services, Inc., Wastren-EnergX Mission Support, Babcock & Wilcox Conversion Services, InSolves, and EHI Consultants).
Notre Dame earned a trip to the National Science Bowl® in Washington, D.C., in April, but because of a schedule conflict with other school functions, the team will not participate. Instead, the runner-up team from Waverly will represent the region at the national event.
The National Science Bowl is a nationwide academic competition that tests students’ knowledge in all areas of science and mathematics. Teams are comprised of four students, one alternate, and a teacher who serves as advisor and coach. The teams are quizzed in a fast-paced competition involving biology, chemistry, Earth and space science, physics, energy and mathematics.
The Department of Energy created the National Science Bowl in 1991 to encourage students to excel in mathematics and science and to pursue careers in these fields. About a quarter-million students have participated, and it is one of the nation’s largest science competitions. DOE’s Office of Science manages the NSB Finals. More information can be accessed at: http://www.science.energy.gov/wdts/nsb/.