Saline High School’s Science Olympiad Team completed the 2019 season with a strong performance at the State Championship Tournament, held at Michigan State University. The team finished in fifth place, improving upon their ninth place showing in 2018.
The state champion is Northville, who also captured the title last year. Pioneer High School was State runner-up and will join Northville at the National Championship. Pioneer returns to Nationals after 35 years. Troy and Grand Haven, both frequent national contenders were third and fourth. Michigan is one of the toughest states in the nation and because of the depth of the state program, Michigan gets to send the top two teams to nationals.
Saline captured 10 placements, including two gold medals in Disease Detectives (Ruth Sullivan and Jason Hu) and Water Quality (Jason Hu and Sahil Thumma); two silver medals in Fermi Questions (Aditya Arora and Sam Chen) and Thermodynamics (Ruth Sullivan and Jason Landini). Jason Hu is also the first student in program history to win two gold medals in his or her freshman year.
“This was a very special team, one that worked hard together to try and make everyone’s events strong. It’s a long season and being one of the top two that advances takes a perfect day, which we did not have,” said Nath Akella, Saline’s Head Coach. “I am very proud of all the things they accomplished, the teamwork was incredible this year, the effort was amazing as was our season”
Saline won three invitational tournaments, including a strong first place finish at the University of Michigan Invitational back in February. Pioneer narrowly edged Saline out for the Regional Championship but fortunately both teams advanced to the state finals. In years past only one from our region advanced- often eliminating a state top 10 team. This was Saline’s 12th straight trip to the state championship.
“Saline’s program has beaten state champions from many states this year, so our estimate is that we are now among the top 30 programs in the country. However, the national championship berth has proven elusive," Akella said. "The team is actually very young, we have four freshmen and four sophomores on varsity. We only graduate four seniors from varsity this year, so we’ll have some work to do to fill those slots, but we have a strong foundation for 2020.”
There will be an info session for the upcoming year on May 21 at 6 p.m. in room C105 at Saline High School.
Below is a gallery of the Science Olympiad medalists from Saline.