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Zane Trace wins inaugural DOE South Central Ohio Regional Science Bowl

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PORTSMOUTH, Ohio – March 8, 2013 – As the U.S. Department of Energy ushered in its brand new South Central Ohio Regional Science Bowl on Friday at Shawnee State University, it seemed fitting to members of the Zane Trace academic team that its champion would be coached by a woman in the twilight of her career.

Zane Trace bested 18 other teams in a field that represented 13 schools from Jackson, Pike, Ross and Scioto counties and earned a berth in the National Science Bowl next month in Washington, D.C.

“We didn’t make it very far in Quiz Bowl, but this makes up for it,” said Tyler Moore, the team’s senior captain, who said it meant a lot for the students to win the event for Coach Nancy Robertson, who has led the team since 1986. “This is Ms. Robertson’s last year as coach and this was a great farewell.”

Was it ever. After morning pool play that established the seeding for the afternoon’s single-elimination tournament, Zane Trace (the fifth seed) stormed through the bracket with victories over Portsmouth West and Sciotoville East before moving into the event’s semifinals. It then defeated Lucasville Valley, avenging an earlier loss in pool play, before getting past Waverly in a final match that was decided within the final minute before an energized audience.

Robertson said she believed her team would be competitive, but was overjoyed with the victory.

“I was hoping we could come here and win a couple games. I had no idea it would keep getting better and better and better,” said Robertson, who added her team benefits from the school’s strong science program. “We just kept working our way through.”

Besides Moore, the Zane Trace team was made up of Emily Joosse, Jessica Proehl, Beau Bilek and Kasandra Dalton.

DOE’s Greg Simonton, the event coordinator, said the excitement from educators, students and volunteers made the event a success.

“We are pleased with the turnout and the enthusiasm we saw from the participants is very gratifying,” he said. “This event is designed to bring awareness to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs and we certainly accomplished that. But to do it in a way that was both educational and fun, well, we couldn’t have asked for more than that.”

Science Bowl matches consist of two teams made up of four participants and an alternate. The teams play two eight-minute halves and answer questions related to biology, chemistry, earth and space science, energy, mathematics and physics.

Waverly earned its way to the championship match with a semifinal victory over Jackson and earlier wins over Western and Northwest. Jackson, who came out of pool play seeded 16th, came alive in the single-elimination portion with a win over New Boston before an upset of the tournament’s top seed, Chillicothe.

Lucasville Valley earned its way to the semifinals with victories over Portsmouth West and Paint Valley. The four semifinalists were made up of representatives from each of the four participating counties.

Other schools participating included Minford and Notre Dame.

DOE partners for the event included Shawnee State University, the Portsmouth Civic Forum, Fluor-B&W Portsmouth, Restoration Services, Inc., the United States Enrichment Corporation, Wastren Advantage, Inc., Babcock & Wilcox Conversion Services, Ed Holmes, Inc., and InSolves.

Zane Trace now turns its attention to next month’s national event. Moore said he is uncertain what to expect.
“I have no idea,” he said. “I know it’s going to be very tough competition.”

DOE created the National Science Bowl in 1991 and more than 200,000 students have participated in the competition in its 22-year history. It is the nation’s largest science competition.

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