Wantagh Science Olympiads Takes Sixth Place at Regionals, Moves on to States

Chris Morale, Reporter

In spite of a turbulent start, 2021 became a year that kept with the precedent of success for Wantagh High School’s Science Olympiads. Originally scheduled to take place in early February, the Regionals competition, already changed from an in-person to a virtual venue, was unexpectedly postponed a week before it was slated to take place. Despite this, Wantagh’s SCIOLY Teams A, B, and C kept up with event preparation and met up at the high school on March 20th to take part in the virtual competition. In a new pandemic-oriented format, students worked together in the school’s computer labs, taking typed tests in their respective events and submitting their responses within a time frame of one hour. With coordination by Science Olympiads advisor Mr. Colavita and Team A captains Melanie Volz, Margaret Gates, and Helen Ibrahim, and food and general assistance provided by Ms. Stuart and Mr. Mulé, it was a day that was memorable and enjoyable for all involved. 

A few days later, gathered in Mr. Colavita’s room, team members viewed a pre-recorded award ceremony, and learned, to immense cheers at each announcement, that Wantagh teams had placed in the top ten in a total of nine events out of the fifteen, and that Team A had come in sixth place overall, qualifying to move on to the States competition on April 10th. Julianna Rose and Chris Morale came in third place for Anatomy and Physiology, Margaret Gates and Tarika Varanasi came in sixth place for Astronomy, Melanie Volz and Margaret Gates came in 8th place for Chem Lab, Kevin Pfundstein and Melanie Volz came in second place for Circuit Lab, Kevin Pfundstein and Melanie Volz came in seventh place for Codebusters, Emma Alexander and Julianna Rose came in 6th place for Designer Genes, Julia Froese and Julia Inayan came in fifth place for Disease Detectives, Tommy Murray and Emma Alexander came in ninth place for Ornithology, and Aidan Schroh and Lauren Daniels came in fifth place for Sounds of Music. As a school, Wantagh also came in fourth place across the competition, as two of the schools that placed ahead of Wantagh’s Team A, Syosset and Hicksville, placed twice. 

As a result of placing in the top ten among the teams competing in the Nassau County East bracket, Wantagh’s Team A qualified to move on to States, which will take place in a similarly virtual format. Contrary to years past, the team will not travel to the competition, instead meeting again at the high school to take event tests at pre-scheduled times. While a far cry from experiences of past years (Wantagh’s SCIOLY has made it to States almost every year for nearly a decade), the competition still promises to be one for which all will try their hardest and look forward to an enjoyable time. 

In spite of this alteration and the overarching circumstances, the overall mood is one of optimism and accomplishment. “Like everything else this year, Regionals was very different than anything any of us were used to,” explained Mr. Colavita, “But that didn’t stop our teams from excelling the way they always have. The amount of medals won and our return to States was nothing short of amazing.”