The 2020-21 Wisconsin Science Olympiad science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions culminated in the State Tournament held virtually on April 17. Awards and team standings were announced during an online ceremony held April 24. Both Menomonie Middle School and High School Science Olympiad teams took third place in their respective divisions.
The Menomonie Middle School (MMS) brought home medals in 39 individual top 6 finishes with 27 individual students medaling. Gold medals were earned in Circuit Lab (Grant Burns, Ally Dickman) and Solar Power (Burns, Spencer Kelsey). Silver medals were awarded in Crime Busters (Burns, Peter Cimino); Density Lab (Burns, Sawyer Bast); Disease Detectives (Amy Liu, Olivia Rubenzer); Dynamic Planet (Caleb DeVries, Luke Ray); Game On (Ben Seguin, Bast); Ping Pong Parachute (Burns); Elastic Launch Glider (Cimino); and Heredity (Burns, Kelsey). The following received bronze medals: Boomilever (Cimino); Experimental Design (Maddie Horvath, Journey Holt, Pajci Xiong); Fossils (Sara Palmer, Devries); Water Quality (Kelsey, Derek Weber); Ping Pong Parachute (Westin Ngo); and Ornithology (Weber, Ray).
MMS coaches Natalie Topper, Amy Zuber, and Shelby Hamlin-Bowe noted: ”We’re proud of our team’s success, their ethics, and their ability to persevere in the pursuit of science during a pandemic.”
The Menomonie High School (MHS) team earned medals in 24, with gold medals being earned in Anatomy and Physiology (Anna Imsande, Patrick Schwartz); Chem Lab (Summit Fox-Schultz, Morgan Selchow), Dynamic Planet (Ben Ehlert, Molly Smith); and Experimental Design (Jenna Blomquist, Fox-Schultz, Schwartz). Silver medals were awarded to Designer Genes (Peter Bendel, Blomquist); Detector Building (Cole Delong, Zander Franks); Geologic Mapping (Ehlert, Smith); Gravity Vehicle (Delong, Schwartz); Horticulture (Blomquist, Jenna Castillo); Machines (Kevin Leach, Selchow); Protein Modeling (Fox-Schultz; Blomquist, Imsande) and Solar Power (Franks, Selchow). Bronze medals were awarded in Astronomy (Leach, Selchow); Circuit Lab (Fox-Schultz, Franks); Code Analysis (Delong, Franks); Code Busters (Bendel, Leach, Selchow); Disease Detectives (Blomquist, Hayleigh Husby); Dynamic Planet (John Kluge, Sam Seguin); Fossils (Ehlert, Grace Hasse); and Ornithology (Hasse, Castillo).
The MHS team is coached by Harold Vlcek, Deanna Suilmann, Michele Huppert and Bill Dingwall.
The entire season was held virtually, and the team competed in a number of tournaments throughout the country. “The students continued to excel in learning their events even though they never had a live competition,” said Vlcek. “It was a joy to see them develop their skills and bond as a team during this very different season.”
“I was very pleased with the senior leadership,” added Vlcek. “They had excellent state results and will definitely be missed next season. This group will continue to excel as they start new adventures in their chosen endeavors.”
The awards ceremony included a tribute to Vlcek and Suilmann who are retiring at the end of the school year. Wisconsin State Olympiad Director Dr. Forrest Schultz praised them both for creating a culture of science education through their teaching and dedication to Science Olympiad. “Our community will experience a loss,” Schultz said. “But the countless students Coach Vlcek and Coach Suilmann have taught and coached will continue their commitment to excellence in STEM education.”