Colfax and Elk Mound Science Olympiad teams competed at state meet March 31 and April 1
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by LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — It takes a lot of work to be able to compete in the state Science Olympiad meet.
Both the Colfax High School and the Elk Mound High School Science Olympiad teams qualified to compete at the state meet March 31 and April 1 held at UW-Milwaukee.
According to the Science Olympiad website, “Founded in 1984, Science Olympiad is the premier STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] competition in the nation, providing standards-based challenges to 6,000 teams at 425 tournaments in all 50 states.”
Kyle Easter, the coach for the Colfax Science Olympiad team, is the high school chemistry and physics teacher.
Easter graduated from UW-Stout in the spring of 2022 and completed his student teaching in the third quarter with John Dickinsen at Colfax.
During the Colfax Board of Education meeting when he was introduced to the board in September of 2022, Easter said he wanted to start a Science Olympiad team in Colfax.
Easter filled the teaching position previously held by Patrick Furey, who retired at the end of the 2021-2022 school year.
Colfax placed eighth overall at the regional competition among 14 teams, said John Dachel, Colfax High School principal, at the Colfax school board’s March meeting.
What is interesting about Science Olympiad is that the teams going on to the state competition are not selected by region, but rather by how many medals each team has earned in comparison to other teams in the state, he said.
All together, the Colfax Science Olympiad team brought home six medals from the regional meet.
Colfax medalists at the regional meet included Braden Kiekhafer and David Lyrek, Astronomy, fourth place out of 11 teams.
Other medalists at the regional meet were Lauren Becker and Levi Becker, Cell Biology, fourth place out of 13 teams; and Gracie Burgraff and Amanda Lemler, Chemistry Lab, third place out of nine teams.
Additional medalists at the state meet were Ben Bailey and Levi Becker, Flight, fourth place out of seven teams; and Amelia Schmitt, Forestry, third place out of nine teams.
The team of Amelia Schmitt and Lauren Becker, Green Generation, earned a medal for third place out of 10 teams at the regional meet.
The Elk Mound Science Olympiad team brought home five medals from the regional meet, one of which was a gold medal.
Medalists from the Elk Mound Science Olympiad team at the regional meet were Ty Meyer and Kaydyn Nielson, first place in It’s About Time; Ty Meyer, Kaydyn Nielson, and Addy Young, third place in Codebusters.
Additional medalists were Ty Meyer and Addy Young, third place in Forensics; Ty Meyer and Addy Young, fourth place in Dynamic Planet; and Ty Meyer and Payton Burcaw, fourth place in Astronomy.
Additional Elk Mound team members include Lillian Vang, Jackson Gehweiler, Gracie Carlton, Kate Mohr, Carley Gehrke, A.J. Miller, Caroline Gabert, Carly Mohr, Brooks Burcaw, Yolo
Delgado and Londyn Jenson.
The Elk Mound Science Olympiad team is coached by Bradley Wesely, who teaches mathematics at Elk Mound High School.
“Science Olympiad provides students with a great opportunity to explore different STEM fields through the various events it offers. Our students have been putting in work on their events throughout the course of the year,” Wesely said.
“This includes putting together notes for certain events, building devices or structures for others, and designing experiments or running labs. We’ve done well in our three competitions thus far, bringing home medals in multiple events at competitions, including at least one gold medal in each,” he said.
“The students are looking forward to competing at state to see how we stack up against all of the other schools at the competition,” he said.
Here are the other Colfax High School students who participated in the regional Science Olympiad competition:
• Amanda Lemler and Lauren Becker, Anatomy and Physiology, fifth place out of 13 teams.
• Ben Bailey and Levi Becker, Bridge, ninth place out of 10 teams.
• Braden Kiekhafer, David Lyrek and Mark Sonnentag, Codebusters, ninth place out of 13 teams.
• Ben Bailey and Levi Becker, Detector Building, sixth place out of seven teams.
• Lauren Becker and Mark Sonnentag, Disease Detectives, fifth place out of 12 teams.
• Amanda Lemler, Dynamic Planet, eighth place out of nine teams.
• Gracie Burgraff, Environmental Chemistry, seventh place out of eight teams.
• Braden Kiekhafer, David Lyrek and Mark Sonnentag, Experimental Design, seventh place out of 13 teams.
• Amelia Schmitt and Mark Sonnentag, Fermi Questions, twelfth place out of 13 teams.
• Amelia Schmitt, Horticulture, fifth place out of nine teams.
• Gracie Burgraff, Precision Medicine, tenth place out of 10 teams.
• Mark Sonnentag and David Lyrek, Remote Sensing, eighth place out of nine teams.
• Braden Kiekhafer and David Lyrek, Rocks and Minerals, eighth place out of nine teams.
• Gracie Burgraff, Virology, ninth place out of 11 teams.
• Amanda Lemler and Lauren Becker, Write It, Do It, eighth place out of 12 teams.