Tonganoxie High Science Olympiad team wins first regional in school history
The Tonganoxie High School Science Olympiad has one championship under its belt and is looking to secure an even bigger one next month.
The THS Science Olympiad won first place for the Kansas Science Olympiads northeast regional competition Saturday at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park.
THS medaled in 22 out of 23 events on its way to winning regionals for the first time in school history.
“I wish we had a video, or even a picture, of the kids’ faces when they announced that Saint James Academy had won third place and that Olathe North had second place,” said Tracey Waldeier, who along with Christine Biel and Kirsten Rhoads coach the team. “It was priceless. They were so surprised.”
THS earned first-place medals in anatomy (Spencer Finkbiner and Joshua Lingo), disease detective (Finkbiner and Staatz), invasive (Jacob Tollefson and Nathan Bothwell), protein modeling (Finkbiner and Staatz) and robot arm (Finkbiner and French).
The squad also earned several second-place medals: astronomy (Staatz and French), fossils (Alex Tucker and Nathan Bothwell), wind power (Tollefson and Jack Crow), Wright stuff (Tollefson and Allison Williams) and GeoLogic mapping (Tollefson and French).
Finishing with third-place medals were the air trajectory (Crow and Jared Bothwell), experimental design (Anahi Puebla, Lingo, Ethan Sandburg), forensics (Puebla and Lingo) and green generation teams (Nathan Bothwell and Tucker).
The team also earned three fourth-place finishes for bridge (Crow and Jared Bothwell), cell bio (Finkbiner and Lingo) and chemistry lab (Puebla and Lingo).
Finishing out the scoring for Tonganoxie were teams that took fifth place and sixth place. The dynamic planet team of Williams and Staatz placed fifth, and the electric vehicle team of Luke Falk and Alex Falk placed sixth.
Waldeier said Finkbiner, a THS senior, congratulated and thanked the team from the seniors, saying it truly was a team effort.
Lingo told Waldeier he thought the team would get second or third, but couldn’t have imagined the team would win the regional competition outright.
He noted that Olathe North was ranked 37th nationally.
McLouth placed 14th at the regional, while Basehor-Linwood was 16th.
Other Kaw Valley League teams were Mill Valley (fourth), Lansing (10th) and Bonner Springs 15th. There were 22 teams competing at the regional.
THS now turns its attention to the state meet, which will be April 2 in Wichita.