Palo Alto High School’s Science Bowl team returned to school victorious in February after placing third out of 20 schools in the 11th Annual Department of Energy Bay Area Science Bowl competition at Stanford University. This strong finish marks the Paly team’s debut in the regional competition and season.
The Paly SciBowl team, which consists of sophomore Samarth Venkatasubramaniam, junior Andrew Lee and seniors Gary Chen, Matthew Li and Jasen Liu, competed against other strong schools, including Lynbrook High School and the Harker School, who placed first and second respectively. However, only the top two teams in each division advanced to the double elimination round, so the Paly team did not move to the next round.
“It felt nice to place at regionals since we have been practicing a lot,” Lee said. “We were all definitely surprised once we found out that we placed third overall.”
According to its website, the Regional Science Bowl “encourages students to excel in STEM disciplines – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – and to pursue careers in these field.” Students are also expected to answer multiple choice and short answer questions covering biology, chemistry, Earth science, physics, energy and math in a fast-paced format that requires them to think quickly and spend months practicing.
According to Lee, to work on speed, the team met every week for about two hours to go through previous competitions and practice buzzing.
Overall, Venkatasubramaniam was content with the performance of the team.
“Although only first place gets to advance to nationals, we are super happy with our third place because it is one of the hardest regionals, and it was a good show for the last SciBowl for the three seniors on the team,” Venkatasubramaniam said.