Ames High Wins 2011 Science Bowl

AMES, Iowa – Ames High School didn’t win big, but it won often to capture the 21st annual Ames Laboratory/Iowa State University Regional Science Bowl on Jan. 31. The Little Cyclones topped Home Schools of Eastern Iowa on the last question of the final match for an 84-76 victory and a trip to Washington D.C. for the Department of Energy’s National Science Bowl, April 28-May 2, 2011.

ImageThe victory is the seventh time Ames has won the championship in the 21-year history of the science and math quiz-bowl event. The team, coached by Ames High English teacher Joe Brekke, finished second last year. The lone returning member of that team, Lucy Chen, captained this year’s team and was joined by Peter Yin, Bo Fan, Alex Huang, and Nirvan Tyagi. For Chen, a senior, the victory was sweet capping off a Science Bowl career that saw her teams place third as a sophomore in 2009 and second last year as a junior.

After breezing through the round-robin matches in the morning, Ames found the competition stiffer in the 16-team afternoon double-elimination round. With toss-up questions worth four points,  a bonus question worth 10, and four penalty points going to your opponent for incorrectly answering too soon, the right or wrong answer can mean a potential 18-point swing.

Ames won its first afternoon match 110-92 over Monticello. Next, they edged out two-time defending champion Central Academy of Des Moines 76-72 on the last question of the match. The next match against Home Schools of Eastern Iowa was even closer with Ames winning 72-70. The semi-final match, a 100-36 win over Dubuque Hempstead was the largest margin.

The Homes Schools of Eastern Iowa team of Alan Talmage, Luke Serafin, Ehren Gaebler, and Benjamin and Daniel Weieneth came back through the bottom bracket, defeating West Des Moines Valley (128-86) and Hempstead (88-38) to earn the rematch with Ames.  The Dubuque Hempstead team, comprised of Mafaza Khan, Ethan Bahl, Brian Fuchs, Rebecca Weires and Ian Calaway and coached by Nathan Oswald, finished third overall, the same as in 2010.

A total of 40 teams participated in the event. Besides those mentioned above, the top 16 teams advancing to the afternoon round included: Chariton, Iowa City West, Williamsburg, Cedar Rapids Xavier, Dubuque Senior, Johnston, Iowa City Regina, Pella, Urbandale, and Waukon. See complete results of the afternoon round here.

Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science laboratory operated for the DOE by Iowa State University. The Lab conducts research into various areas of national concern, including the synthesis and study of new materials, energy resources, high-speed computer design, and environmental cleanup and restoration.