Nysmith Wins 2017 Virginia Middle School Science Bowl

  • Finishing in first was the team from Nysmith School for the Gifted

Finishing in first was the team from Nysmith School for the Gifted, Herndon. Pictured, left to right is Anuraag Kaashyap, Aneesh Edava, Kaien Yang, Coach Fengrong Li and Yuvraj Sethi.

Longfellow and Frost Middle Schools Finish in Second and Third

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Twenty teams of excited students – accompanied by their coaches and family members – arrived at Jefferson Lab bright and early on March 4, ready to compete in the Virginia Regional Middle School Science Bowl. At the close of a long, intense day of competition, Nysmith School for the Gifted, Herndon, earned top honors.

Jefferson Lab’s Deputy Director of Science, Robert McKeown, welcomed the students, attending family members and team coaches. A capacity crowd sat in rapt attention as McKeown briefly explained the purpose of the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility – Jefferson Lab’s particle accelerator. Then, to help the young competitors grasp how much technology has changed in the last 50 years, McKeown presented images of devices he regularly used as a young scientist – a slide rule, manual typewriter, rotary-dial telephone, black-and-white vacuum-tube TV set, gas-powered car, and vinyl records – devices that many youngsters in the audience had likely never before seen or used. He discussed how technological advancements had replaced them with new devices: calculators, computers, smart phones, video games, LED TVs, and electricity- or hydrogen-powered vehicles.

“It is difficult to make predictions about the future, but the advancements of the next 50 years will be up to young people like you,” he challenged. “You could develop the next big thing beyond the smart phone or the internet, or discover a cure for Alzheimer’s or other diseases.”

The teams spent the morning in a series of fast-paced round robin matches, with the top two teams from each of the four divisions moving on to the double-elimination tournament in the afternoon. Questions covered detailed topics ranging from general, life, physical and Earth sciences to mathematics.

In one division, three school were tied with six match wins each – Page Middle School, Gloucester; Rachel Carson Middle School, Herndon; and St. Patrick Catholic School, Norfolk, – forcing tiebreak matches before the afternoon double-elimination finals got underway.

The last match of the day pitted Nysmith against Longfellow Middle School, Falls Church. Nysmith was undefeated in the afternoon tournament; and Longfellow had lost one match to McNair Elementary School, Herndon. Nysmith started the match strong – answering most of the toss up questions and then answering the follow-on bonus questions, correctly. With little chance to get on the board, Longfellow was lagging at the half. The team rallied in the second half, answering more of the toss up questions but missing some of the valuable bonus questions. The score at the end of the match was 108-88 for the undefeated Nysmith.

The Nysmith team, coached by Fengrong Li, took home a $750 check for its school, a team trophy, individual medals and the regional banner that the team will carry when they compete in the National Science Bowl® (NSB) finals in Washington, D.C., April 27 – May 1.

Finishing in second place, the Longfellow team, coached by Jim Bradford and Jamie Korelitz, took home a $500 check for its school and a team trophy.

Ending the day, respectively, in third and fourth were the teams from Frost Middle School, Fairfax, and McNair Elementary School, Herndon.  The Frost team, coached by Haydee Cooper and Brendan Davis, took home a $300 check for its school and a team trophy. The McNair team, coached by Chalapathi Kotnana, took home a team trophy.

A number of teams, eliminated from competition after the round robin matches, stayed to participate in the Stay All Day Contest. These teams took part in three activities, each one presenting a different type of design or engineering challenge. Winning this event, and earning a $300 check for its school, was the team from Wallace Middle School, Bristol, coached by Valerie Leonard and Sara Miller. Wallace won by having the highest composite score for the three events.

At the awards presentation, Christine Wheeler, Jefferson Lab's science education acting supervisor, congratulated the students and their coaches. She acknowledged their hard work in preparing for the competition, and for the support provided by parents. She thanked Jefferson Lab management for its support in hosting the event and the more than 50 volunteers – lab staff, their family members, and friends of the Science Bowl program – who helped conduct the matches and run the event.

The Department of Energy created the National Science Bowl® in 1991 to encourage students to excel in mathematics and science and to pursue careers in these fields. The National Science Bowl® is one of the nation's largest science competitions. DOE's Office of Science manages the program and sponsors the NSB finals. Starting in January and continuing through April, several thousand students have or will compete in high school and middle school regional Science Bowl tournaments across the nation.

Longfellow Middle School, Falls Church Frost Middle School, Fairfax
Finishing in second was the team from Longfellow Middle School, Falls Church. Pictured, back row, left to right, is Bryan Zhang, Coach Jim Bradford and Chris Kan and front row, l.-r., Daniel Fu, Kevin Zhang and Owen Rollins. Finishing in third was the team from Frost Middle School, Fairfax. Pictured, back row, left to right, is Jason Xu, Max White, Coach Haydee Cooper; and front row, l.-r., Maggie Clark, Kevin Davis and Alex Cooper.
McNair Elementary School, Herndon
Finishing in fourth was the team from McNair Elementary School, Herndon. Pictured, back row, left to right, is Spriha Tandon, Coach Chalapathi Kotnana, and Anish Devireddy; and front row, l.-r., Divyam Sharma, Srihan Kotnana, and Deccan Maniam.


Contact: Deb Magaldi, Jefferson Lab Communications Office, 757-269-5102, magaldi@jlab.org


Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, manages and operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, or Jefferson Lab, for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. JSA is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, Inc. (SURA).

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://energy.gov/science