'Wicked smart'

Mayron was enjoying his second appearance at nationals, this time along with his brother, senior Jared Mayron.

Being able to study with his brother made a difference in preparation, said Jared, and led him to pursue rounding out his chemistry knowledge.

"That was part of the reason I did chemistry," he said. "The only thing [Austin] didn't get was chemistry."

With three of the competitors set to return to the team next year, confidence is running high for the 2011 Science Bowl.

"Next year, we'll get to the top 16," said Austin Mayron.

The Science Bowl has been held since 1991. Sixty-eight high schools participated this year, many of them technical or disciplinary schools.

"A lot of the other schools there were magnet-type schools. They focus on science," said Paul O'Reilly, an AP biology teacher. He attributed the team's success to hard work and a skilled and supportive science department.

"We have a special environment, a special community here," he said.

O'Reilly has been coaching the Science Bowl team since 1997, and has seen six trips to nationals.

He also coaches the Masterminds team, which is in the midst of a regional series of competitions against other high schools. Similar in format to the Science Bowl, Masterminds opens up the subject matter to include history and the arts.

"It's more of a 'Jeopardy,' where they cover everything," O'Reilly said.

Many of the Science Bowl team members also participate in Masterminds. The team will next compete on May 19 in Niskayuna.

Locally, a team from Van Antwerp Middle School in Niskayuna placed in the top 16 in the middle school portion of the Science Bowl competition, securing a cash prize of $1,000 for their school science department.""

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