Results at MIT Invitationals Bring Promising Season for Science Olympiad Team


Ward Melville Science Olympiad poses for a photo at the MIT campus.

Janet Song, Social Media Manager

After placing thirteenth out of seventy teams at the 2018 MIT Invitationals, the Ward Melville Science Olympiad team hopes to be able to hold similar results for their upcoming Regionals and State competitions.

“The MIT Tournament is maybe THE most competitive tournament of the year,” Jenny Serigano, coach of the team, explains. “Even more than the National Tournament. The top teams from around the country flew in to Cambridge and brought their A-game.”

Notable victories included first place and sixth place in the events Helicopter and Mousetrap, secured by Varun Jindal and Prakash Sekar.

Although the tournament does not determine whether or not teams are qualified to advance to higher levels of competition, Serigano notes that the tournament is valuable practice for future competitions. She is hoping that the team’s commitment will be able to steer them towards a successful season.

In particular, she is thankful for the dedication from the team’s captains. “This year’s captains, Emily Huang and Andrew Zhang, have been pushing for more frequent practices since their very first day in office. Their drive has influenced me to take a much more hands-on approach this year and we have already begun practicing three times a week.” With their Regional competition (hosted at Ward Melville) this Saturday on the 27th, Serigano adds, “It is looking like we will be meeting as frequently as six times a week.”

Member Sahil Sangwan delves into the meticulousness of these competitions. Each competition is divided into “different” events based on a variety of STEM fields, he explains. “For a team to do well, they have to ‘out-compete’ other teams by placing the best in each event, since the overall team scores are calculated by adding the placement in each event. The competition begins at the regional level and ends with the national tournament, which is held at a different university every year.”

If Ward Melville is able to place top six at the Regional competition, they will be able to advance to the States competition in March, where they will have to place first or second place to qualify for Nationals.

And Sangwan already has esteemed hopes for States. “We’ve always used the MIT tournament as a measure of how prepared we are for the state tournament,” he says. “So if everyone does well enough in each event [for States], we can get first or second place and qualify for the National tournament. Since our team is robust and each event is doing well this year, our goal is attainable if we keep practicing and improving.”

Serigano shares Sangwan’s enthusiasm. “The team members that I work with are not just naturally intelligent. They are unbelievably self-motivated, self-sufficient and have such a captivating passion for science,” she states. And no matter where the team goes, Serigano says she is extremely lucky to be a part of Science Olympiad. “Science Olympiads at other schools may just be a club but at Ward Melville High School, it is a lifestyle. It is truly an honor to work with such a brilliant and inspiring group of young adults.”