BLOOMINGTON Bloomington’s newest state champions gathered at a teammate’s house Sunday to celebrate their victory this weekend.
The Bloomington High School Science Olympiad team won the state competition in Division A at the University of Illinois-Urbana of 17 teams in the competition Saturday.
The team also won medals in 12 of the 23 events.
“They had a great season; this just tops it off,” said Bloomington High School principal Cindy Helmers.
The competition involves a variety of events requiring knowledge of science concepts, processes, skills and science applications. Students compete in the areas of biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, computers and engineering technology as two-person teams. There are both tests and projects.
“To be honest, throughout the year, we were underdogs for the academic side of the competition,” said Kirsten Skillrud at the Sunday celebration at her mom, Dr. Ann Stroink’s home.
“We underestimated ourselves,” said Skillrud. That’s why when almost 12 hours after the bus left Bloomington on Saturday, and the state champs were announced at the competition’s wrap up assembly, the team was in a bit of a daze.
“We were all just beyond shock,” Skillrud said.
They beat Chicago-area teams in many categories. “We went out there and kicked some suburban butt,” Skillrud joked.
“They’re very bright, creative, and hardworking,” their coach Mary Sutter said Sunday.
“They work as a team,” said Sutter who is also a chemistry and advanced placement course teacher at the high school.
She said team captains Skillrud and Sasha Pradhan recruited some of the best kids in the school for the team. “They are really responsible and great leaders,” she said.
In the 23 events, BHS members won three firsts, and three seconds.
First-place medal winners include Samantha Brown, Hunter Fast, and Brian Temple. Second-place medal winners included Skillrud, Pradhan, Raye Lefler, and Fred Hausman.
Third place award winners included Jon Powell, Troy Earley, Aaron White, Aaron Enloe and John Ladage. Chris Cluver earned a fourth place medal. Carrie Pruett and Jay Madheswaran also competed for the state champion team.
The team’s victory is a combined effort by “a very talented team of students supported by a community of family, faculty, and community members,” Sutter said.