A capital performance

The team members generally concentrate on their topic of interest and then study it voraciously. Senior Ray Futia (who will study cellular biology at SUNY Binghamton next fall) said he pored over not only his advanced biology textbook but anatomy and molecular biology texts as well. From his experience at last year's event, Futia reckoned the middle schoolers were answering what were previously high school-level questions.

"The questions were a lot harder this year," he said.

Other members of the team are good at doing sums in their heads very quickly, and others make sure their know detailed principal of physics and chemistry.

For placing in the top 16 high school teams in the country, the Science Bowl team brought back $1,000 from the Department of Energy for BC's science department. O'Reilly said he'd like to see that money spent on a video system that attaches to microscopes so students can film their observations and broadcast them to the class.

"I can see across the room if they're doing the right thing," he said.

When not competing at the Science Bowl, the team got a chance to see the sights of Washington. (When the new broke late Sunday that Osama bin Laden had been killed, the team woke up O'Reilly to ask if they could grab a taxi to join the raucous celebrations on Pennsylvania Avenue. The answer was in the negative.)

The Science Bowl team will be losing several top players to graduation next year, but junior Michael Clawar said he's confident the group can make it back to D.C. He wants to make sure the team gets together over the summer to be as prepared as possible.

"We have a lot of young kids we can use on the team next year," he said. "We should have a good team next year that has a good shot of making nationals."

For now, most members of the Science Bowl team are turning their attention to the Masterminds competition. It's a contest very similar to Science Bowl but it covers all subjects, not just the sciences. The first round of the Masterminds competition is on May 16, with regionals on the 23rd.""

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