In 1991, organizers of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Science Bowl wanted to create an event that encouraged young people to pursue fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, particularly young women.
They would have been pleased to know that Waverly High School won the 2020 South Central Ohio Regional Science Bowl with a team made up of four girls on Friday, March 6, at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth.
The win marked the first time in the eight-year history of the event that the champion consisted entirely of females. They scored the match’s last eight points to erase a four-point, second-half deficit to win the championship 12-8 against Minford, which had knocked out three-time defending champion Wheelersburg in the quarterfinals.
“I love that these girls didn’t get flustered and kept it together. They are over the moon,” said coach Amanda Entler, whose team outlasted 31 others from 18 southern Ohio high schools. “We had no clue this was going to happen. We always joke that if we don’t make it to D.C. we’re still going to DQ … Dairy Queen on the way home.”
Entler’s daughter is senior captain Allison Entler, who joined her teammates in a circular embrace following the match and excitedly celebrated the victory. Her teammates are senior Audrey Barnett, senior McKenzie Penrod and sophomore Jenna Thompson.
“We work really well together. I feel like this is a really big accomplishment,” Allison Entler said. “The nationals have a lot of top-tier teams, but maybe we’ll surprise ourselves again. We’ll just be really proud to go to D.C. and represent our school.”
The academic competition quizzes students in all branches of science and mathematics. In the regional event, teams competed in pool play in the morning, which established seeds for the single-elimination tournament in the afternoon.
The competing teams were Chillicothe, Clay, Green, Huntington Ross, Minford, Northwest, Pike Christian Academy, Piketon, Portsmouth Notre Dame, Portsmouth West, Sciotoville East, South Webster, Valley, Vern Riffe Career Technology Center, Waverly, and Western Pike, Wheelersburg and Zane Trace.
During the pool play portion of the competition, Wheelersburg set a record for the South Central Ohio Regional by posting 132 points in a match. No team had ever broken triple digits.
DOE’s Greg Simonton, the event coordinator, said the competition was an impressive display by the area’s students.
“These young people are brilliant and DOE is proud to provide a platform so they can showcase their talents,” Simonton said. “We want to thank our event sponsors and wish Waverly luck in the National Science Bowl (April 30-May 4).”
The event was sponsored by Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth, Portsmouth Mission Alliance, the Shawnee State University Foundation, the Portsmouth Site Specific Advisory Board, RSI EnTech, the Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative, Mid-America Conversion Services, EHI Consultants, Veolia, Studio Blue and 8-Bit Buddy.
DOE created the National Science Bowl in 1991 to encourage students to excel in mathematics and science and to pursue careers in those fields. More than 290,000 students have participated in the National Science Bowl throughout its 29-year history, and it is one of the nation’s largest science competitions.