Sponsored by the U. S. Department of Energy, the National Science Teachers Association and the Jet Propulsion Lab, the round-robin, double-elimination tournament on Jan. 22 featured timed questions on such diverse subjects as Earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, math, astronomy and technology.
Of the two dozen teams that entered, only the final four competed on a center stage in JPL’s prestigious Theodore von Kármán Auditorium. Woodbridge was one of them, of course, placing an impressive third by besting a number of powerhouse schools from all over Southern California. Arcadia and Troy high schools placed first and second, respectively.
Many of the games were intensely close, and in fact Arcadia’s come-from-behind victory was secured on the final question: “In order to replenish the supply of steam at the geothermal plant called The Geysers, which of the following does an underground pipeline deliver? (W) wastewater (X) river water (Y) ocean water (Z) rain water.” (We’ll post the correct answer below.)
The Woodbridge team included co-captains Nathaniel Schuetz and Dillon Zhi, along with Andrew Steffen, Tobin Holcomb and Allen Tang. Accompanied by science teacher Mike Nakaue, the group departed their school at 6:15 in the morning for the daylong tournament – and didn’t return until after 7:30 p.m.
“The students were physically, mentally and emotionally drained by the end of the competition,” Nakaue said. “These are a bunch of nice kids who gave it their all, and I am sure the past 19 teams would have been very proud of them.”
(Oh, and the answer to the question above is “wastewater.” Obviously.)