Loomis Chaffee Students Compete in the National Science Bowl

Max Jiao '24, Contributor

After three months of preparation, the Loomis Chaffee Science Bowl Quiz Team competed in the virtual Connecticut and Rhode Island National Science Bowl and found notable success.
This year, Loomis had two teams of five students: Team A consisted of seniors Sean Lee and Andrew Park, juniors Quinn Bernardin and Rohan Vasandani, and sophomore Mark Zhang, and Team B consisted of sophomores Max Jiao and Isabella Wang and freshmen Toby Chen, Tom Nguyen, and Eric Zhou.
The science team practiced daily for three months, doing past competition questions in preparation for the real event. They studied and researched new concepts once a week to expand their knowledge.
The two official teams were organized before the competition to optimize the teams’ success.
“Over the course of the season, I look at everybody’s performance when we practice, and then pick the top person in every subject area for the team,” Mr. Koby Osei-Mensah, Science department faculty member and science team coach, said.
On the morning of March 19, both teams competed in two preliminary rounds. Participants from schools in Connecticut and Rhode Island were tested on a wide variety of science concepts. Each question presented a toss-up question with a potential bonus question if contestants answered the toss-up correctly.
“The questions were definitely a bit challenging, though they weren’t much different from what we practiced… We occasionally missed some simple questions, but in general, I think we did pretty well,” Chen said.
The topics included were Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Energy, Earth and Space Science, and Mathematics.
“Each member of the team specialized in a topic, and for one day each week, we each researched this topic in-depth,” Zhang said.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Science Bowl was held virtually over Zoom this year. Instead of using buzzers and competing over speed with an opposing team, individual teams used separate Zoom rooms to answer a series of timed questions for points. Many felt that the new arrangement wasn’t as enjoyable as the standard tournament structure.
“I feel like the whole point of going to a competition is meeting the other teams and having that competition atmosphere, but, in the online format, you just go into the Zoom room with your own team and answer a series of questions,” Park said. “I feel like that takes away a bit of the fun.”
Despite the shift in format, Loomis still managed to have an outstanding performance. Both teams qualified for the first elimination round, becoming two of the top sixteen out of the thirty-four competing teams. Team A went further and passed two elimination rounds, tying with Glastonbury High School for fifth place, just short of making the semifinals.
“We were obviously disappointed that we eventually got eliminated, but we were still very happy with where we ended. Overall, I think the amount of work we put in matched our results,” Zhang said.
Mr. Osei-Mensah was pleased with the teams’ performance. “Last year, we only made it to the first round, so it was certainly nice to qualify and play more games; we definitely made more progress,” he said.