After placing first out of 25 teams at the Santa Clara Regional Science Olympiad competition on March 14, the Palo Alto High School Science Olympiad team will attend the state competition on April 18 in Turlock, Calif.
While the Paly SciOly team has consistently won Regionals in the past, this year’s victory is particularly notable because of its score of 58, which is the team’s lowest score in several years, according to senior Alex Lu. SciOly competitions are similar to golf in that teams try to get as low a score as possible. Winning all 23 events would give a team 23 points in total, which is the lowest possible score.
“Our success this year is primarily due to an accumulation of experience in engineering events, where we’ve stumbled in the past,” Lu said. “In addition, this is the first year that we’ve had such a high number of upperclassmen on the team. … Their experience and dedication is definitely something that has impacted the performance of the team.”
According to Lu, Paly had ten first-place finishes and averaged between second and third for the other events.
“This year was our best overall performance but not really our biggest landslide victory,” Lu said.
Last year, the team won Regionals but came in second at States to rival Mira Loma High School. According to junior Sylvia Targ, Paly has lost to Mira Loma at States every year for the past ten years except in 2013, when Paly advanced to Nationals and came in 16th place overall.
“This year, we are really gunning for Nationals, and we think that we have a good shot,” Targ said. “We’re all super excited and so incredibly motivated. We always have each other’s backs because we know how stressful this is. It’s just really fun to succeed with people you care about that much, so it [Regionals] was a really good day.”