UHS Wins Regional Science Bowl Title for the Fifth Time in Six Years



The UHS Science Bowl team won the 2023 regional Science Bowl at JPL. From left: coach David Knight, and students Nathan Ouyang, Yufei Chen, Benjamin Fan, Wendy Cao and Julianne Wu

Mia Barajas-Kua, Staff Writer

On Feb. 4, the UHS Science Bowl team competed in the 31st annual Jet Propulsion Lab Regional competition. The competition is a jeopardy-style event that covers topics in both mathematics and science. After several matches, UHS won, making this their fifth win in six years. 

As a result of this victory, the team is traveling to Washington D.C. in April to compete in the National Science Bowl competition. The group consists of junior Wendy Cao, sophomore Yufei Chen, senior Benjamin Fan, junior Nathan Ouyang and junior Julianne Wu.

When reminiscing on the event, science teacher Mr. David Knight was satisfied with the outcome and his team. 

“The team has been practicing all year and went to an invitational event at MIT in the fall in preparation for the regionals here,” Knight said. “We have a very strong team in all math and science topics.” 

The participating students found the competition exciting and different from any other academic competitions, comparing it to a football game. 

“Like the coach and quarterback, our science bowl coach and captain are the keys to our success, as they adapt our strengths and strategies when we face different schools,” Wu said. “It’s also nerve-wracking since often we don’t know the round winners until the last second of the match, but the thrill of collaborating to answer difficult questions correctly makes it worth it.” 

The team members also recognized the importance of being quick to answer.

“It is a really fast-paced and stressful competition,” Chen said. “Unlike most academic competitions, depth of knowledge is secondary to speed because buzzing is involved.”

To prepare, the team practiced weekly after school and created a similar environment that simulated the competition so they could recognize areas they needed to improve and work on them. 

“To study on my own, I read textbooks and online resources on various topics in the earth and space sciences,” Cao said. “Additionally, participating in competitions like the Science Olympiad helped me expand my knowledge as I researched little-known subjects.”

Although the team won, there was a point in the competition when they were struggling. 

“The hardest moments were at the beginning of rounds against other really good teams,” Chen said. “It’s really easy to trip up early on, and trying to play catch up is difficult.”

Though the event was stressful, the team rallied together.

“Our players were confident and well-prepared and, when they got behind a couple of times, did not panic but fought to gain the lead,” Knight said. “There was only one time during the day where we were behind at the midway point in a match, but during the second half, our team dominated and pulled very far ahead.”

Looking back on their win, many members are excited for their upcoming national competition in Washington D.C.

“It’ll be the first fully in-person, head-to-head nationals since 2019, so I’m really excited!” Wu said. “We’ll be staying at a huge, historic mansion by the Potomac River for nearly a week with teams from around the country, and I can’t wait to reunite with old friends and meet new ones!”