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Science athletes compete – Cardozo wins

Some of the best scientific minds from throughout the city recently met at Grover Cleveland High School for the Regional Science Olympiad.

Benjamin Cardozo High School in Bayside beat out schools, from private to specialized, to take home the first place trophy.

“When we heard ‘new champions’ and ‘Cardozo’ I think we all stood up screaming for a good three to five minutes,” said team secretary and three-year veteran Sophie Lobo.

Twenty-four schools met from throughout the city to compete in a multitude of science-related events. Events included disease detective, mousetrap vehicle, protein modeling challenge, remote sensing and sumo bots.

The top six teams in each event received medals and each teams’ place in each event was added up for their total score.

Teams consisted of 15 students and each student usually focuses on between two to four competitions. Some bigger schools, such as Stuyvesant, Cardozo, Bronx High School of Science and Townsend Harris, field two or even three teams.

To prepare for this competition students met after school every day, sometimes staying until 10 p.m. working and studying.

“It’s a lot of studying on [the students’] part, they really put the effort in,” said Cardozo head coach and physics teacher Mark Siega. “They study all the time for class and to be involved in a club that is more studying is a testament to them.”

“The week leading up to Saturday is always exciting and tense for everyone on the team,” said senior Ike Lee. “We cram like there’s no tomorrow.”

It was difficult to get a good night’s sleep the night prior because of nerves and his eagerness to compete, said Lee. Teammates Lobo and Joseph Arra agreed, saying everyone was excited to get started.

The top five teams from the regional competition will go on to compete on March 18 and 19 at West Point Military Academy in the state competition, with the top two finishers there qualifying for the nationals. Besides Cardozo, Archbishop Molloy, Collegiate School, Townsend Harris and Stuyvesant will be competing against almost 50 schools in the state championships.

Cardozo has been to the states the three previous years, but never as champions, so the students know their work is not done.

“We still have a lot to do to prepare for states and continue to prove that Cardozo is a force to be reckoned with,” said Arra, a senior and the team’s arbitrator.

Others are looking at this with confidence.

“Even now, some of us still can’t believe how well we did, and we’re going to rock states as well,” said Lee.

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