Bonga said that even though she gets nervous before events, doing them with her friends makes it easier and seeing what she has learned is satisfying.
"Putting in so much time to prepare and then getting there and knowing something on the test is very exciting. It's been a great experience," said Bonga, who wants to study engineering in college.
Melissa Hosek is also a senior who's been on the team for two years, and she said that moment when she realizes she knows an answer is what makes Science Olympiad so cool.
"I see it like a challenge. The people who are giving us the tests are trying to stump us, so let's see if I can outsmart them," said Hosek. "It's very rewarding in the end, when they call your name and you see your school has won events, you say 'yes, I can do this!"
Hosek participated in astronomy, ecology, cell biology, disease detective, protein modeling events and assisted in a helicopter event. She said trying to explain why Science Olympiad is fun makes it sound "very not fun at all," but the opportunity to challenge her mind is exciting.
"I call it my winter sport. I stay after school many hours a week and gather information that encourages me to explore things I've never thought to explore before," said Hosek. "It's one of those clubs where it's a great group of people so it's a lot of fun to spend hours with your friends discovering new facts."
This is the third year in a row the team has made it to states, said K-12 Science Coordinator Diane Irwin, and the tournaments are limited to 15 students.
"When our kids go to state level it allows them to compete against students they normally wouldn't have and broadens their experience; lets them see challenges they could be facing," said Irwin. "A lot are students who are successful in school and this is an opportunity to learn more and challenge themselves to learn more."
Other participants had to build a robot to push off a wooden platform, construct a mousetrap car, built a bridge that had to support a certain weight, made a wind turbine and completed assessments that were a combination of written and hands-on observation.