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I've mentioned a couple of times that I am head coach of our school's Science Olympiad team. My wife also coaches, and several other parents also coach.

We went to our last invitational of the season yesterday, and we did far better than I had ever thought we would. This is the largest and most competitive invitational in the region, drawing teams from as far away as Illinois.

Thirty three teams competed in our division and we took eighth overall - this in our first full year as a team, and only our second year of any presence at all. A year ago we attended this same invitational - it was our very first outing - and took dead last.

Now, in two weeks we have the Regional competition. The top six teams in the regional will advance to the State competition. So I crunched the numbers. We took eighth overall in this large competition yesterday, and every team save one that we will meet at the regional was present. When I remove the teams that beat us but are not in our region (hence we won't meet them at the regional) I find that if yesterday had been the Regional, we would have place fifth. Hence, we would advance to the State.

Now, our region has been dominated by the "Big Five" - Northmont, Piqua, Magsig, Tower Heights, and Watts. It had been our thought that our best possible finish would be sixth - which would be good enough to get us to the state - but we had assumed we would certainly lose to these others.

Well, we beat Watts and we were within shouting distance of Magsig. So, realistically, we could get fifth at the regional with a shot at fourth.

I have to presume at this point that a berth at the State competition is ours to lose. We have two weeks, and the kids are pumped up. I guess that every spare minute will be spent getting them ready. Then, if we do advance to the State, we REALLY have to crank since we are in one of the toughest regions in the country - and certainly the toughest one in the State. If we get to the State, we have to point for the Nationals (we won't make it - not this time - but we have to try). Last year, two of the top six teams in the National competition came from this Region, and we are competing against them every time we go out.

Given that this is our first full season, and in fact the Northmont Invitational is the first event we have returned to, I am quite pleased with our performance. I had been planning to go to the State NEXT year, but now we have to start thinking about the Nationals next year...
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