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Students match wits in Science Bowl competition

by Kim Mines

CORRESPONDENT

FAIRMONT -- Students from regional high schools had a chance to show off their math and science skills in the RESA VII 10th Annual Science Bowl at Fairmont State College Thursday.

Trinity, Morgantown, University, Fairmont Senior, North Marion, Doddridge County, Gilmore County, Lewis County, Tygarts Valley, Buckhannon Upshur and Bridgeport high schools competed.

The Science Bowl consists of eight rounds with 50 questions for each round and double elimination.

After a complimentary dinner at Damon's Restaurant, the top teams competed in a final round that will be aired Saturday at 11:30 a.m. on WBOY. The winning team will advance to the state competition, which will be held on Feb. 2 in Morgantown.

Science Bowl teams compete before a judge, time keeper, and score keeper with a moderator reading the questions.

"The questions are very difficult. I'm amazed at how much these kids know," said Patrick Leggett, an InSTEP Regional Coordinator for RESA VII and V. Leggett served as one of the moderators for the competition.

Questions covered various scientific and mathematical studies, including general science, physical science, biological science, geology, earth science, meteorology and algebra. Students were given three to five seconds to hit their buzzer and answer the question.

The Science Bowl gives students who excel in science and math a chance to really shine, said Leggett.

"It started 10 years ago as an academic competition -- a match of wits," he said.

According to Jessica Barron, a Fairmont State College chemistry major who served as a timekeeper for the Science Bowl, competition is as fierce as that of any sports event.

"They're all pretty competitive," she said.

Students from the various teams were excited to take part in the event, and many had competed in the Science Bowl before. Although they had many interests, the students were clearly fascinated by science.

"Science is the attempt to open our eyes and perceive at least a glimpse of the wonder surrounding us," said Kristina Lebedeva of University High School.

Students said some questions were easy and some were more difficult, but the trick was to be the first one to think of the correct answer and hit the buzzer before anyone else has a chance.

"You watch the other team," said Darren Ringer, a senior at University High School. "The key is to figure out the weakness of the other team and adjust our play strategy accordingly."

Bryan Ford and Devon Crawford, seniors at Bridgeport High School, have competed in the Science Bowl since they were sophomores.

"It's fun -- I just like it," said Ford.

"Besides, it's a good way to promote science," Crawford added.

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