CANYON -- There were pencil biters, note takers, and attentive listeners among the over 140 high school students gathered for the high school regional science bowl Saturday at West Texas A&M University in Canyon.
Ultimately the note takers, Lubbock High, won the $1,000 prize and all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. for the national contest in April sponsored by the US Department of Energy.
Lubbock never lost a match in 12 rounds of competition and easily defeated Randall 100-8 in the finals to win for the first time since 2009.
The finals saw a contrast in styles with every Lubbock science scholar writing notes during toss up questions while Randall’s foursome listened attentively, rarely taking notes in the event that is as important to future scientists as sports is to many high school students.
“This is better than sports,” Randall’s James Dewey said. “It’s a mental sport using your brain, and it’s also psychological to stay calm and not get psyched out.”
Lubbock High, Randall and both Ascension Academy teams made it through the morning rounds with no losses but two-time defending champion Amarillo High came into the afternoon rounds with a loss to eventual champion Lubbock High.
“Our closest match was Amarillo High,” Lubbock’s Jake Watts said. “We beat them 90 to 38.”
The Lubbock team said much of their success was based on other science competitions throughout the year and the right mix of students.
“Last year (fourth place) we were missing people, but this year we had everybody,” Watts said.
Lubbock coach and physics teacher Jessica Holman was pleased with the win.
“We really didn’t practice this contest that much until a few weeks ago,” Holman said. “We just have really smart kids.
Everybody includes students who specialize in the areas of math, biology, physics, earth and space science and chemistry that our covered in the questions.
The finals matched up senior-laden teams with seniors Watts, Phyllis Zhang and sophomore Joseph McCarty helping the Westerners too the title.
Dewey combined with fellow seniors Blake Phelan, Johnathan Hofman and Collin Blackwell to bring home the second place and $500 for their school’s team.
Randall’s coaches seemed more disappointed than the students in the second OVERSET FOLLOWS:place finish.
“I wish they could have won,” said Randall science teacher Samantha Usnick. “This is the hardest working group we’ve ever had. I can’t tell you how many hours they spent studying.”
Ascension Academy Gold finished third also winning money for the school.
Pantex sponsored the regional contest in its 21st year.