The Oakdale High School Science Olympiad team had its best finish yet at the NorCal State Science Olympiad championship, according to team coach Cameron Nickerson. This year the team earned medals in three events, compared to one medal on each of the two prior trips to the NorCal event.
Oakdale placed 15th out of 24 of California’s top teams, beating Modesto High, Modesto Christian, and Downey – the other teams in Oakdale’s region.
“The competition at this level is so much higher than at our regional, it really takes our new team members by surprise,” Nickerson said.
He added that the students have all worked very hard and they continue to improve, but are just not quite at the level they need to be to be a force at the state level.
Nickerson said he’ll lose a large percentage of his top players to graduation this year, but will still have a strong team next year if the rest of this year’s players, including a large number of freshmen, all return. He added that he’s also looking forward to picking up incoming freshmen who were on last year’s junior high squad, that also went to the NorCal finals last year.
“I believe that we are now and will continue to be the best Science Olympiad team in our area and I’m really looking forward to continued success from our squad,” he said.
This year’s NorCal Science Olympiad team members are Julie Bolme, Fernando Cruz, Andrew Gilpin, Ryan Gilpin, Madison Lane, Rakel Mendoza, Chris Ng, Paul Perrone, Pablo Rodriguez, Mason Schmidt, JT Vizenor, Trevor White, and Danny Wong. Erika Villa was on the Regional championship team but was unable to attend the NorCal event. Schmidt, who only had one month to learn two new events from scratch, filled Villa’s spot on the team.
Listed below are the OHS teams medals won at the NorCal event.
Write It-Do it: Gold, JT Vizenor and Paul Perrone. This event highlights precision communication skills and they medaled in it for the last three trips to NorCal.
Sumobot: Fifth, Andrew Gilpin.
“Andrew built a fearsome machine, but in the end was outdone by a wedge shaped machine that managed to get under his wheels,” Nickerson reported.
Helicopters: Fifth, Pablo Rodriguez.
“(He) built and flew this incredible machine, powered by what are essentially rubber bands,” Nickerson said. “It flew for a minute-and-a-half, triple our time at the Regional event.”
Oakdale had a total of eight top-ten finishes at the event.