OC to send two teams to the Science Olympiad National Tournament in Colorado

After earning top honors at the Southern California State Science Olympiad Tournament last month, teams from two Orange County campuses will get to compete at the national level.

Troy High School in Fullerton and Jeffrey Trail Middle School in Irvine placed first in their respective divisions April 7 at Polytechnic School in Pasadena. By doing so, they’ve earned the right to represent Southern California at the Science Olympiad National Tournament at Colorado State University on May 18 and May 19.

Members of the Jeffrey Trail Middle School Science Olympiad team
Members of the Science Olympiad team from Irvine’s Jeffrey Trail Middle School will take their first trip to the National Tournament in May.

We’re told it’s been more than 10 years since Orange County has sent teams from both the middle and high school divisions. And while Troy has previously advanced, this marks the first trip to the nationals for Jeffrey Trail.

“Over the past couple years, we were very close to winning the state competition, but there was always a missing key component that held us back,” says Jeffrey Trail’s student captain, Elena Kim. “I think this year, we were able to quickly find our strengths and weaknesses that filled the missing gap. This year the team had a great bond with each other that led to our success.”

Science Olympiads are like academic track meets, presenting a series of 23 STEM-related team events covering various disciplines including earth science, chemistry, genetics, anatomy, physics, geology, mechanical engineering and technology.  

Some events challenge students to learn content and demonstrate it through traditional tests. Others challenge students to design and build objects — like hovercrafts or towers — that are tested on the day of competition.

Either way, unlike other science competitions, team success is prized above individual achievements.

“No accomplishment is possible without massive amounts of hard work and dedication from the members of the team,” Jeffrey Trail head coach Todd Muñoz says. “Without the proper resources and support in place, none of this would be possible.”

OCDE organizes and runs the regional program, which advances teams to the state tournament. Only one team per division qualifies for the national tournament. For more information on Science Olympiad programs, visit www.soinc.org.