dxu46 is a member of the 2021 Ladue Horton Watkins High School Science Olympiad team. He has been a part of Ladue Science Olympiad since 2016, when he was on the middle school's B team.
|Number of years competing||6|
This was my first year participating in Science Olympiad, and I mostly just derped around and didn't take it seriously. I originally signed up to test in 5 events (Disease Detectives, Mission Possible, Road Scholar, Scrambler, and Write It Do It), but after placing dead last in Disease Detectives and Write It Do It, and also forgetting that I needed a ramp in order to launch my vehicle for Scrambler, I ended up being selected for our alternate/training team for Mission Possible and Road Scholar, mainly because there weren't many people trying out in either. I picked up Experimental Design after a friend asked me to fill in one of 2 open spots, so I ended up competing in those three events at regionals. After being selected for the team, I began to take Science Olympiad more seriously, and spent a lot more time on my events, including learning the entirety of Experimental Design and improving my Mission Possible device (at tryouts, it was basically just a first class lever and an inclined plane but still only 3 people tried out :)), and spending hours every week studying maps with my coach. At regionals, however, things didn't go as well as planned; we got a chromatography experiment in Experimental Design (not a hard topic in general, but more so for 3 6th graders), the time-waster in Mission Possible, a plastic ball full of molasses, leaked, and I ended up having to solo Road Scholar. I still medaled, though, and because I solo'ed it, I ended up getting two medals for it :).
Weirdly enough, my 7th grade year was by far my most successful in terms of competition. I tried out for 5 events, again (Ecology, Experimental Design, Optics, Road Scholar, and Rocks and Minerals), and was selected to be on the main team for all except Ecology and Optics. Building upon my experience in Experimental Design and Road Scholar from the year before, as well as my natural interest in shiny things for Rocks and Minerals, I was able to improve my competitive success, earning gold medals for all three events at both regionals and states, as well as a bronze medal in the event Meteorology for filling in for a conflict. For me, this year was more of a chance to have fun competing outside of St. Louis, and less of a source of pressure to succeed, which is why I don't recall ever having any feelings of worry at states and nationals. That may have led to my eventual success at nationals, winning Road Scholar, placing 8th in Experimental Design, and 13th in Rocks and Minerals. Nothing really felt different, aside from travelling on a bus to different places to compete, and practicing slightly more for each of my events. Nevertheless, this year was a fun experience, and (as of 2021) my only time ever travelling to nationals and competing.
|Rocks and Minerals||1st||1st||13th|
My 8th grade year was essentially a repeat of the previous year, but a lot more disappointment. I tried out for my events from the previous year, in addition to Dynamic Planet, but ended up repeating my events. I easily made the team, and swept through regionals and states with the same placements as the previous year, but unfortunately, my season ended at states, when our team placed 17th and 21st in two events, despite a total score of 70, losing to Pembroke Hill by one point. We won a total of 14 events, and placed in the top 5 in 6 others, but two events caused us to lose out on what would have been a strong nationals showing, due to the loss of Missouri's second bid. It goes to show that every event is important, which is a lesson that everyone on our team learned the hard way. Nevertheless, this season was still fun, as more of my friends made the team and we had a lot more fun. I do wish that we could've made nationals again, not just for the fun experience, but also for the chance of medals (same Road Scholar partner as the year before, and also Pembroke placed 8th in Rocks and Minerals at nationals despite placing 4th at states). C'est la vie, I guess.
|Rocks and Minerals||1st||1st|
Unfortunately, my division B career was cut short this year due to my not being selected for the team. I tried out in Experimental Design, Fossils, and Road Scholar, and placed in the top 2 for each at tryouts, but unfortunately my events were deemed not as important as those of another freshman, and she was chosen over me. Because of this, I asked the division C coach if I could participate on the high school's B team, and he gave me an opportunity to compete. I signed up for Experimental Design, Fossils, GeoLogic Mapping, and Write It Do It, and was able to compete in all four because there weren't many people on the B team with me. My UChicago performance was... embarrassing, to say the least, but expected as I had just switched to division C the week of. Regionals was also underwhelming, as I underestimated the difficulty of high school Science Olympiad. Oh well. At least this year gave me a jumpstart into the world of division C, and I got to have a lot of fun as an alternate, with less pressure (although the division C team didn't end up making nationals this year, so I didn't get to compete in trial events at nationals, but whatever).
|Write It Do It||17th||9th|
The saddest year ever. Enough said? Probably, but probably not. In my first full year in division C, I tried out for Chemistry Lab, Detector Building, and Experimental Design, and ended up making the team with the latter two. I wasn't able to compete at the UChicago invitational this year due to a music conflict, so I only had the opportunity to compete at regionals (and not even stay for awards, again due to a music conflict) before COVID-19 hit and everything was canceled. It wasn't as bad for me as it was for the juniors, who carried the team with multiple events each, or the seniors, who were looking forwards to their last year in Science Olympiad and a potential nationals appearance for the first time in 3 years, so I'll take what I got.
Redemption! This year's team was similar in composition to our 2017-18 division B team, so we knew that we had the potential to do well (assuming we didn't bomb any events). The year started off slowly, with little interest across the team in Science Olympiad, and not much happened in the first semester. Our coach signed us up for all three Scilympiad SO Practice invitationals, but the first two were marked with poor attendance and unorganized teambuilding, leading to relatively poor showings by Ladue. I wasn't able to compete at the first competition due to a debate tournament and a music conflict, but I was able to do the other two. I signed up to be on the B team for the second one, and had little success in my events, due to short/easy tests (Chemistry Lab), soloing (Detector Building), derping around with a friend @Abhushan2004 (Fossils), and general lack of studying (Detector Building and Fossils). The third invitational went better, though, due to teams being chosen and also more organized studying, and Ladue ended up winning it, too. Regionals came and went, and short/easy tests in Chemistry Lab and Detector Building, combined with an Experimental Design topic of evolution using a PhET simulation online led me to be pessimistic about my performance, but the team still won handily. States felt like nothing special this year, because we didn't have to ride anywhere in a bus, but preparation was still abundant, and it paid off, leading our team to victory for the first time since 2017, with a record-low in Missouri of 28 points (funnily enough, the same score as in regionals, even with more scored events). Also, the Chemistry Lab test was 76 multiple choice questions, which was much longer than regionals, definitely helping my partner and I (hint hint: test writers PLEASE make longer tests, especially if they're multiple choice glares at 32 question multiple choice Detector Building test).
I'm dropping Detector Building to do Fossils, because one of the Fossils people had a conflict and I was the only other person on the team with a background in Fossils. Turns out I can't even help record a video for my Detector Building device, either, because I'm not registered to take the test. My former partner and my replacement are using my device that I built last year, so if they medal I can kind of say I did, too? :D update: they didn't end up submitting a video but still got 24th :0
|Event||SO Practice 2||SO Practice 3||Regionals||States||Nationals|
* = solo'ed
^ = filler