The Grandview Heights High School and Larson Middle School Science Olympiad team has the evidence that supports a theorem: The more often you have success in events at a regional tournament, the better chance you have of advancing to the state tournament.

At the regional tournament it hosted March 17, the team finished among the top six in 22 of 23 events, giving it the central region championship and qualifying it for the state tournament April 28 at Ohio State University.

The team placed second at the same tourney in 2016 and 2017.

"These guys are amazing," said Suzanne Mets, who serves as co-coordinator of the Grandview Science Olympiad program with John Leutz.

"There hasn't been a day or practice that goes by that I didn't learn something, and usually I'm learning it from our students," Mets said.

"They're always telling me something I didn't know. They are a fascinating, incredible group of people. They are a true team."

Thirty-two Grandview students in grades 6-9 are part of this year's team.

"It's a great response from our students," Mets said. "In fact, we had so many students sign up that we were able to create two 15-member teams, one of which is the 'A' team with older students who have more Science Olympiad experience, and a 'B' team of younger students in their first or second year."

In Science Olympiad, teams of 15 students study and research to compete in 23 events, covering life, personal and social science; earth and space science; physical science and chemistry; technology and engineering; and inquiry and the nature of science.

"The events run the full spectrum of science," Mets said. "On average, a kid will study and research three to five events each, but only two students actually compete in each event.

"We like to call Science Olympiad a track meet of science," she said.

Although it has two teams, Grandview will advance to the state tournament as a single squad. The participants in the state competition will be selected from among all 32 team members.

The central regional tournament held in Grandview included 16 middle school teams and 23 high school teams from a 15-county area.

"We want it to be fun, but it is a competition, so there's definitely a teamwork value that's involved," Mets said. "Like with a team sport, different students have strengths they offer to help make the team stronger as a whole."

The shared experience is "fantastic" for students, she said.

"They're finding people who have the same interest in science they do," Mets said. "They bond as a team."

The program has academic benefits as well.

"Every student will tell you that they are experiencing aspects of a subject that are more advanced than what is typical for their grade level," Mets said. "They are gaining a deeper understanding of a subject that puts them ahead of the curve."

Being asked to comprehend subject matter that is beyond one's grade level is both challenging and fun, said Tyler Schmied, an eighth-grader who is participating in Science Olympiad for his second year.

"Without it being challenging, it wouldn't be as much fun," he said. "Trying to learn and understand some new concepts is what makes it fun and rewarding."

Science Olympiad "gives you a chance to explore science, but not as constrained as in a classroom," he said. "That's because you get to choose to participate in the subjects that most interest you."

Eighth-graders Hannah Thompson and Dylan Dobbs-Euans also are two-year Science Olympiad participants.

"Ever since I was a little, little kid, I loved science," Hannah said.

"I like the phenomenon of science and trying to figure out why things are the way they are."

"The great thing about science is that you'll never stop learning something new," Dylan said. "The learning never ends. You could be 100 years old and there's always something to discover. That makes it endlessly cool and fun."

Freshman Owen Mets has participated in Science Olympiad since sixth grade, This will be his last year on the team.

"It's been something I've really enjoyed, just the science of it and the whole team aspect," he said. "I'm going to come back as a coach."

This year, 22 coaches as well as a number of community volunteers supported the Grandview team, Suzanne Mets said.

"We get such a great amount of community support," she said. "It often happens that our coaches and volunteers are former team members. They either participated as a student or they are the parent of a student who used to be in the program."

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