Since its inception four years ago, the Dublin Scioto High School Science Bowl team has worked its way to the top.
The team of Harshil Amin, Manesh Dhulipala, Kirsh Nair, Arjun Venkataraman and Koh Yamakawa will travel to Washington, D.C., for five days next month for the national competition after dominating a tri-state contest in Cincinnati last month.
Coach Roger Rabold said the team placed fourth in the round-robin style contest last year and it is the only contest the team attends annually.
"We practice yearround except during the summer," he said. "This year we get a bonus event."
The team has been competitive for three years and was created four years ago when Venkataraman asked Rabold to head the team.
"Arjun is very well-rounded in his knowledge of not only science, but all subjects," Rabold said of the team captain.
"He's probably the best player in the whole region."
After spending time on the quiz team in middle school, Venkataraman said he wanted something similar in high school.
"I liked the science part and I found out there was (a competition) for science," he said.
Being part of the team takes work.
Some of the knowledge needed in all branches of science and math can be learned in AP classes, but outside work is also required.
"A lot of it I learned in AP (classes), but there's a lot more beyond that or applying it and thinking beyond that," Venkataraman said.
For Dhulipala, a lot of it is about dissecting questions that might sound like another language to some.
"About half the stuff you learn in the classroom, but not a lot of it is phrased the same way," the sophomore said. "You have to learn to decipher more."
Despite all the brain power on the team, most of the students said they didn't expect to make it to nationals where they will face 69 of the best teams from throughout the country.
"It was actually a really big surprise," Dhulipala said. "Last year we had a lot of juniors and seniors on the team.
"They were really good," Dhulipala said. It was a big surprise this year."
"It was amazing," Yamakawa said. "We were expecting to lose."
But instead the team won a five-day, expenses-paid trip to Washington next month where they will spend two days competing in the science bowl and another on a problem-solving contest.
"They'll spend one day hearing talks from leading scientists," Rabold said.
"One day they'll travel to museums for tours of the Smithsonian and the Museum of Natural History ... ," he said.
"There's even time built in for kids to study for their AP tests."
As Venkataraman faces his last year on the team he helped create, he looks forward to meeting other students who love science and math at the national competition.
"I'm really excited to meet the great teams," he said. "There will be some really smart people there. It'll be nice to meet them."
Dhulipala is excited to tour museums and meet the speakers while Yamakawa's interests lies elsewhere.
"The free food of course," the sophomore said. "I went (to Washington) in eighth grade so it'll be nice to see some things and learning to learn.
"And we'll get to see the best of the best."