Uni High team repeats as Regional Science Bowl champs, earns bid to national contest

Uni High students celebrate their win in the Regional Science Bowl at NASA's Jet Propulsion Labratory

For the second straight year, University High School has emerged victorious in the Regional Science Bowl at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

Two dozen teams from across Southern California competed in the 22nd annual “Jeopardy”-style contest, which spanned eight hours on Saturday, Feb. 1. When the double-elimination science tournament was over, Uni was on top, once again edging out Arcadia High School for the win.

“We started this process in July,” University captain Jiho Park said, “so it’s the culmination of all our efforts since last summer, practicing as much as four or five hours a week as the competition got closer.”

That dedication resulted in a trophy, some medals, a winner’s banner and NASA gear. More important, the Uni students earned an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where they’ll compete in the National Science Bowl from April 24 through April 28.

Coordinated by the Department of Energy, the National Science Bowl was established to inspire students to pursue careers in science or math. The competition draws about 20,000 middle and high school participants nationwide, quizzing them on biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and Earth and space sciences.

Uni also won the JPL-sponsored regional championship in 2013 before placing fourth in the national showdown. But this year’s team, which features seniors Park and Kevin Lee, as well as juniors Al Chang, Albert Tung and Brandon Chen, has its set even higher.

“We have a well-rounded team that is sure to do well at the national level in April,” coach David Knight said. “The competition in our region is considered some of the best in the nation, so we are both confident and hopeful that we will represent UHS and Irvine well.”

(Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech)