Havre Daily News Staff
One of the teams representing Havre High School at the Montana regional championship in the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Science Bowl in Billings Saturday took second place, the highest finish ever for a Havre team at the event, while the second Havre team took sixth. Avery Hanson, Trevor Mork, Casey Donoven, Michael Morelli and Steven Barton took the second-place finish, behind a Billings Skyview team which took first. “To have two of them in the top six was pretty good,” said Carol Pleninger, who coaches the team with Dan Koffler. A team from Charles M. Russell High School took third, while Havre’s second team, consisting of James Wiken, Brett Stingley, Karlee Kafka, Ethan Flathers, Sabrina Rhines, took sixth. Richard Leeds was an alternate for Havre. There were 26 teams which competed at the event, held at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center. Pleninger said Havre, which has competed in the event for more than 10 years, has had two third-place teams in the past, but has never placed second and never had two place as high as they did this year. The second-place Havre team is the first alternate for competition at the National Science Bowl in Washington May 1-6. The Havre teams spent months preparing for the National Science Bowl’s regional competition, which features head-to-head competition in a fast-paced question and answer format similar to the television game show “Jeopardy.” The students were quizzed on all science disciplines including biology, chemistry, earth science, physics and astronomy, as well as math. Most questions are so challenging many scientists would have trouble finding an answer. Pleninger said the format is to have a “toss-up” question worth four points, Which a member from the team must ring in on and then answer with no help from the team. If the team member answers successfully, the team is given a bonus question worth 10 points that the team members can confer on. This year more than 12,000 high school students from 1,800 schools in 42 states will compete in the Nat ional Science Bowl’s regional competitions for high school students. Since 1991, more than 100,000 students and teachers have participated. The U.S. Department of Energy launched its National Science Bowl competition in 1991. The National Science Bowl’s high school competition now involves more than 12,000 students. DOE introduced the National Science Bowl’s competition for middle school students, which involves more than 5,000 students, in 2002. By participating in National Science Bowl competitions, students are encouraged to excel in science and math and to pursue careers in those fields, which will help develop the workforce that America requires to remain at the forefront of scientific advances, technological innovation and economic competitiveness.