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Three-time champs earn another trip to the national competition

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Westview High School's Team 1 again captured first place in the BPA Regional Science Bowl and earned another berth in the national competition this spring. The team includes instructor Fabian Mak (from left) and members Akashay Pulavarty, Ananth Argawal, Priyansh Sharma, Bryan Lee and Anthony Zheng.

Westview High School’s Team 1 was unstoppable Saturday in the Bonneville Power Administration Regional Science Bowl competition.

The three-time regional champs from the Beaverton School District again won an all-expense-paid berth to the Department of Energy’s National Science Bowl, to be held April 28 to May 2 in Washington, D.C.

To get there, Westview overcame a challenge from second-place finisher Lincoln High School of Portland during the 25th-annual regional competition, held at the University of Portland.

Two other Beaverton-area teams rounded out the top finishers, with Catlin Gabel School Team 1 placing third and Sunset High School Team 1 of Beaverton coming in fourth.

Individually, several local students also were honored as BPA Regional Science Bowl All Stars for answering the most questions correctly in the competition's morning rounds.

The full roster of All Stars includes:

• Ashwin Sah, Jesuit High School Team 1 • Daniel Chiu, Catlin Gabel High School Team 1 • Ming Liu, Mountain View High School Team 1 • Kevin Shen, Sunset High School Team 1 • Chandler Watson, Oregon Episcopal High School Team • Anders Olsen, Lincoln High School Team • Matthew Seeley, Lake Oswego High School Team • Akshay Pulavarty, Westview High School Team 1 In all there were 59 teams of math and science whizzes from high schools throughout western Oregon and western Washington attending the nation’s largest regional science bowl. "The final round was definitely nerve-racking, but that's what makes Science Bowl great," Bryan Lee of Westview's Team 1 said in a news release. "A lot of it depends on speed," said his teammate, Anthony Zheng. "That makes it more exciting than just sitting at a desk."

The other members are Akashay Pulavarty, Ananth Argawal and Priyansh Sharma. Fabian Mak is their instructor.

Beyond the prestige of winning and the prospect of the national competition, BPA and science bowl volunteers formed partnerships with universities and colleges in the region to offer scholarships for the top three teams in the high school division. In all, 17 colleges and universities in the Northwest offered members of the top teams a chance at more than $300,000 in scholarships. Amid the fast-paced scoring, wins and losses, the day also had its entertaining moments. "It's really fun," said Beaverton High team captain Cole Cavanaugh in the release. "My favorite part might have been sharing looks of despair – or maybe just acceptance – when the really random, weird or obscure questions came up. At one point, someone from another team guessed, 'The Beatles?'" Ming Liu, the captain of Team 1 from Mountain View High School in Vancouver, Wash., and one of the All Stars, said, "This is my last year at science bowl. It's been a great journey, and I am honored that I got to compete against so many talented teams this year. It has also been great getting to know the smart people on other teams competing here." In addition to the competition, demonstrations and hands-on activities took place throughout the day. In the afternoon, a separate engineering competition allowed teams that didn't advance to the double-elimination round to test their engineering and design skills. This year's challenge was to construct a transmission tower that could defy the forces of an earthquake. "Bonneville has sponsored the Science Bowl each year for a quarter century to support these incredible students in their love of math and science," said BPA Chief Operating Officer Claudia Andrews. "As I watched them compete today, I was amazed and inspired by these kids. They are the energy innovators of the future, and we hope today's experience provides another step toward that important goal." The hundreds of students in the competition, including last weekend's middle school event, come from schools in Washington and Oregon – from as far north as the Seattle metro area and as far south as Ashland. Many practice for months for the competition, which is as intense as any sporting event, particularly at the high school level. BPA sponsors the science bowl to showcase students' talents in science, technology, engineering and math, as well as to encourage them to consider careers in these fields.

The BPA Regional Science Bowl is sponsored by the University of Portland, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and Beaverton’s Vernier Software & Technology. "We're just doing this for fun, just to have a great time," said Alison Bowden of Beaverton High School. "We've had a lot of really close rounds, and it's really fun to cheer on our teammates. It's a good bonding experience for us."

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