Clark Science Olympiad cracks top ten at UC Berkeley Golden Gate Invitational


Shan Reddy

Clark’s Science Olympiad team headed to San Francisco this past weekend for the Golden Gate Science Olympiad (GGSO) Invitational at UC Berkeley on 1/27. The team was coming off of a successful run at the MIT SO Invitational the previous weekend, with a 17th overall placing at the highly competitive national tournament.

The Boston MIT tournament is well known around the country as the most competitive national invitational tournament for Science Olympiad’s high school Division C. It was Clark’s first time competing there, and the team had mixed opinions about the results.

“It was our highest placement ever at a national tournament,” says the club’s vice president, junior Evan Crosby. “We’re really proud of how we did.”

“Even though it was the best we’ve ever done, it was still not even in the top ten,” says senior Jay Desai, who earned the team’s only top three medal with a first place in Disease Detectives alongside partner Aaron Sun. “We can do so much better.”

Regardless of how the team felt about their performance at MIT, they had undoubtedly built up momentum. After flying back from Boston on Sunday, they had three days of turnaround to get some rest and make up as much homework as possible before getting on the bus Thursday for a ten-hour drive to San Francisco.

“It was exhausting,” says junior Vrund Patel. “At a few points during the weekend at Berkeley I couldn’t tell if it was late at night or early in the morning; our sleep schedules were insanely messed up.”

The team spent the Friday afternoon before competition at the Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC) with a private tour from Mrs. Miller’s father, Mr. Erickson, who works at SLAC. The team also spent the evening at Fishermen’s Wharf. “It was the calm before the storm,” says freshman Evan Wrote. “That night was rough.”

The team spent the rest of the night grinding for competition the next day. At MIT, events began bright and early at 7am. Berkeley’s tournament however, started at 9am, giving the team a few extra hours of prep time. “It was a more reasonable wakeup time,” says junior Ashish Kalakuntla. “A lot of us took that as an excuse to sleep less and study for a few extra hours.”

The tournament finished around 5pm Saturday and was followed by an award ceremony led by the tournament directors, undergraduate students from Berkeley and Stanford.

Here are the team’s top five placements from the tournament:

1st Place: Astronomy – Jay Desai, Ashish Kalakuntla

3rd Place: Disease Detectives – Jay Desai, Aaron Sun

3rd Place: Write It Do It – Ashley Su, Shreya Kamojjala

5th Place: Mission Possible – Caitlyn Tran, Jessica Shah

5th Place: Ecology – Evan Crosby, Jessie Li

The team placed 7th overall, a strong improvement from their 11th place at the GGSO Invitational last year. “We made a pretty good jump,” says Crosby. “We’ve never had this much preparation throughout the year for nationals. I think these tournaments are a good sign of how we’ll place in Colorado in May.”