Science Bowl throws a strike


Science Bowl members, from left, senior Lang Ming, junior Sameer Suri, freshman Natalie Wang. junior Simon Chow Junior, sophomore Danny Luo, senior Siddharth Suri, sophomore Ashok Kaushik, juniors Elaine Yang and Anders Olsen, senior Kian Patel, freshman Zoe Greenwald, sophomore Randy Zhang.

When junior Anders Olsen first found out about Science Bowl his freshman year, there were no tryouts, no practices, and one informally organized team. Since then, the club has grown to have three teams and, last year, they placed second at regionals.

Needless to say, the team has changed.

In the past, the club was more just a group of friends who had done Science Bowl in middle school and wanted to carry it on. They had a supervisor but the group was completely self-run.

“When I was a freshman, it wasn’t formal at all. There were no practices, there were no tryouts, we just kind of made a team,” says Olsen. The team even forgot to sign up for the competition last year. Luckily they were able to get in, but they could have missed the opportunity to get second place.

Lincoln is fortunate to have a science bowl team, as few public schools do. The only other Portland public school with a team is Franklin. The best schools, according to Olsen, are Sunset, Jesuit, Westview and Catlin Gabel.  

This year is different. The tryout process requires organization and is quite rigorous. The club is student run, so as a group they had to decide on how to conduct tryouts. This has created some turmoil this year for the students organizing, but new members seem impressed with the system.

Careful planning and insights from other members allow the tryouts to be fairer to the majority. Not a lot of arguments in team meetings,” says freshman Marshal Xu.

This year the science bowl team has a secret weapon: the complete support and participation of a teacher adviser, chemistry teacher Nathan Watson. Watson was first asked to be the club’s supervisor last year.

“At first, last year, I kind of stood back and let them do their own thing and I was just here. Then going to competition, it was really impressive and really exciting [so] I decided I wanted to be more involved,” says Watson.

Watson does paperwork for the team, so they will not forget to sign up for the competition. He also finds resources for them, reads questions, and makes judgment calls. Watson’s favorite aspect of Science Bowl is the competitive and boisterous atmosphere of the practices and especially the competition.

Watson said that while watching the finals last year, “there [was] a very dramatic build up of energy till the end when finally someone wins, so it’s a competitive sport like a lot of athletic sports.”

Both Watson and the team are excited by the potential of this year and are hoping to even win regionals.