The Edison Intermediate/Middle School Science Olympiad finished in fourth place in a field of 40 teams April 12 at the state tournament at Ohio State University.

The Edison Intermediate/Middle School Science Olympiad finished in fourth place in a field of 40 teams April 12 at the state tournament at Ohio State University.

The squad finished one point out of third place. It was Grandview's best showing in the state Science Olympiad since 1997.

"I think everybody was really happy with how well we did," said Mindy Stoltz, one of the volunteers who coach the Grandview team. "There were a lot of smiles. It was exciting for the students to have such success at the state tournament, especially being a smaller school."

The teams that finished above Grandview were all larger schools from bigger districts, she said.

The Grandview team also won 13 medals in individual events, including three first place awards.

Conner Sarich and Sam Thomas won first place in the Trajectory event; Zach Clemens and Leila Manirochana finished first in the Scrambler event and Ben Brannan and Charles Fletcher won first place in Mystery Architecture.

Other medal winners included Clemens and Andy Smigelski, second place, Amphibians and Reptiles; Brannan and Carl Delavaris, third place, Disease Detectives; Manirochana and Sarich, third place, Metric Mystery; Manirochana and Thomas, third place, Science Crime Busters; Fletcher and Smigelski, third place, Simple Machines.

Grandview won first place in the regional tournament it hosted on April 5.

All told, the 30-member team competed in 23 events at the tournaments.

The Grandview team competes in a division open to students in sixth through ninth grade.

Tryouts for the team were held last October, but training for this year's tournaments did not begin until after the fall sports season, Stoltz said.

"It really takes a lot of time and effort from the kids. It's a really big commitment on their part," she said.

Several students must train for each event because a tournament schedule is unknown until of the day of competition and different events may be held at the same time, Stoltz said.

Grandview team members trained as much as 10 to 12 hours each week, she said.

With dozens of volunteer coaches and 30 students, "it's hectic trying to schedule all of the practices," Stoltz said.

"A lot of these kids do not participate on sports teams," she said. "This is their sports team. It is just like a sports team, everyone working together for the same goal. Although there are individual medals, we stress that everybody's focus should be on what's best for the team."

Science Olympiad offers a fun way for students to experience science, including elements of science that may not be taught in the classroom curriculum, Stoltz said.

"It's interesting to see them learn new things and work together as a team," she said.

Eighth-grader Hallie Kerr said participating in the Science Olympiad team helps provide hands-on experience that makes science courses in school easier to understand and relate to.

"It definitely helps with your social skills and it helps you find out what you might be interested in studying in college," she said.

"I liked all the events, but my favorite was oceanography. I really have a big interest in that," said eighth-grader Elaina Vimmerstedt. "I really liked working with our coach in that event, who's a professor at Ohio State."

Sixth-grader Sam Brown is finishing his first year on the Science Olympiad team.

"I started because my mom was a coach and I thought all of the events you got to do would be cool," he said. "It's a lot of fun. It's just a chance to hang out with your friends."

"I really like the healthy competition" of Science Olympiad, ninth-grader Richard Patterson said. "It's a lot like sports. You're just involved in some good competition and trying to do the best you can."

afroman@thisweeknews.com