ABRHS & Their Scioly Success
BY EDDY ZHAO '25
Last month, the Acton-Boxborough Science Team competed at the National Science Olympiad tournament held in Wichita, Kansas, marking the team’s thirteenth straight appearance at the event. The team earned their spot at Nationals after placing first in the Massachusetts State Championship back in March.
You may have heard of the Science Team during your time at AB, but what brought them to this prestigious tournament? The Science Team participates in a series of twenty-three science-related events called Science Olympiad. Most events are study events, where students take exams with science-related themes. There are also creative building events, where teams of students build contraptions to solve a task. For example, in It’s About Time, the goal is to build a clock to measure time as accurately as possible. At AB, the Science Team club is split into two tracks: regional and invitational. The lower regional track participates in the West Suburban Science League, composed of a multitude of Massachusetts schools, while the invitational teams go to prestigious colleges to compete with other groups across the country. The state and national team is composed of top-placing members from the invitational teams.
AB students had a remarkable journey at Regionals this year; students staged a 23-point comeback in just three meets to tie for first place in the West Suburban Science League with Winchester. Anyone can compete at Regionals, which runs from October to February; they just need to show up to a Science Team meeting and take a short test to make either the A or B team for that event. Regionals students won gold medals in nine events, including Fast Facts, Rocks and Minerals, and Write It Do It.
In the summer before the school year, students often begin studying for invitational tryouts, which run from the start of the school year until December. Captains then decide on the 30 students who qualify for the two evenly-balanced invitational teams; most schools have one team with 15 members, but AB, as a large school, has enough students to send two teams to each invitational. Often, students will put hundreds of hours of studying events before the season has even begun.
This year’s invitational season was one of the most successful in recent years. The invitational teams attended three tournaments hosted at MIT, Yale, and Brown. MIT is considered the most prestigious of the contests, as the best teams in the country are seen there and often compete again months later at Nationals. AB placed fifth overall out of 64 teams, winning first place in Experimental Design, as well as medals in Remote Sensing, Disease Detectives, and It’s About Time. Yale and Brown were even more successful; AB swept these contests by a landslide, winning gold medals in 17 and 10 of the 23 events respectively, even beating all three of Lexington’s teams. This achievement is remarkable because Lexington stacks teams, meaning they put their best students on their A team, while AB teams are balanced in terms of tryout skill.
While AB has two invitational teams, state tournaments only allow the entry of one team per school. Typically, the best grouping of 15 are chosen out of the 30 invitational members once invitational season is over, with 5 additional students as alternates. While the state tournament this year, held at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, was a success for AB, it nearly ended in catastrophe. Some of the team's best events were canceled because of event supervisors' incorrect handling, and there were also numerous errors in grading event exam packets. However, after multiple disputes were taken into account and regrading took place, AB was ultimately declared the winner, and the two teams traded trophies after the tournament.
Finally, the Acton-Boxborough Science Team competed at the National Tournament at Wichita State University, held in May at a different site each year. With impressive placements in many events, the team placed sixth overall at the tournament out of 120 teams, their best in-person Nationals placing ever.
Each member of the national team performed prodigiously and worked tirelessly for numerous months to achieve this astounding result. Notably, Amy Meng ‘25 and Ishaan Verma ‘24 won a gold medal in the Green Generation event. Amy described the experience as surreal, stating: “it was very surreal and i couldn't believe what was happening. walking across the stage felt like a dream. SHOUT OUT TO ISH prodigious green gen partner love u.” For their immense success in the event, which focuses on ecology and environmental science, they were awarded $1,000 scholarships to the colleges of their choice.
As a member of the invitational team myself, I can attest that being part of the Science Team is a challenging yet rewarding experience, and has greatly improved my motivation to succeed academically (“scioly grinding”). Want to join? Science Team tryouts and regionals will start back up next year and they are always looking for new members to carry on AB’s legacy!