Wisconsin Science Olympiad leaders worked hard last summer to adapt the science, technology, engineering and math competitions for the 2020-21 season given the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. A slate of virtual tournaments began last November, and this past weekend Menomonie High School (MHS) participated in one such virtual tournament hosted by Marquette University High School. Teams had the option of competing in either a satellite or mini-meet giving schools the opportunity to participate in a level practical for their teams. The satellite option allowed teams to meet at their own schools to complete events and take subject tests while participants were completely remote for the mini option.
Marquette University High School won the satellite division with Menomonie High School placing second. MHS earned gold medals in Anatomy and Physiology, Dynamic Planet, Forensics and Fossils as well as silver medals in 13 events.
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The virtual format has allowed teams from all over the country to participate in Science Olympiad tournaments this season, and the Marquette Invitational was no exception with schools from 14 states including Hawaii 49 schools entered 84 teams with about half competing in the mini-tournament and half in the satellite tournament.
The Science Olympiad season has had its challenges from participants being quarantined to technology not always cooperating. Patrick Schwartz, a senior and team caption, also noted, “This season it has been especially hard to grow close as a team and do team-building because we are trying to do most things remotely.” The virtual format of the season has allowed the MHS team to participate in highly competitive tournaments such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Invitational (MIT) earlier in the season against some of the best teams in the country.
“Marquette University High School definitely showed they are the team to beat as we head into the state tournament Saturday, April 17,” said Coach Harold Vlcek. “With less than four weeks to go, the team will continue to prepare to show their best effort at the state tournament.”