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Ocean Science Team takes down Stuyvesant at Science Bowl Invitationals

Posted on Friday, November 15, 2019 by for Ocean Science, Public Affairs.

On Saturday, October 19th 2019, Hunter College High School opened its doors to some of the city’s brightest students for day of academic dueling in the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Midwood’s Ocean Science Team — invited to the closed competition on account of their performance at the annual Hunter-hosted New York Regional Science Bowl — arrived ready to play. With students from the Ocean Science class in tow, Midwood was divided into three separate teams of five; an A, B, and C team, each selected by coach/teacher Mrs. Kimberly Lau for an optimal balance of knowledge and skill.

Group photo
Midwood High School’s Ocean Science students (pictured left to right: Coach Lau, Maham Ghori, Alex Ihnatenko, Emily Chu, Lucie Lim, Aryan Islam, Declan Lin, Idrees Ilahi, Anthony Yang, Alyssa Kattan, Jennifer Yakubov, Angela Jiang, Kimberly Nguyen, Lindy Nguyen, Kevin Ahrens, Mr. Elert, Vina Weng, Henry Hua, Hang Chen, and Kevin Ng.

The teams were each a combination of the older, more veteran members of Ocean Science and younger, newer competitors. "It’s always nice to see our upperclassman supporting and encouraging our underclassman to bring out the best in young minds", Coach Lau comments.

Regardless of age however, Midwood fared very well. The day started off on a high note, with our A-Team beating Stuyvesant High School’s A-team by a 20-point lead in the first round of competition. In the final round, Stuyvesant A was defeated again, only this time by Midwood B.

Although the Ocean Science team specializes in — well — ocean science, the breadth of APs taken between them all throughout the years has deftly prepared them for the competition material. Be this as it may, a surge of excitement is still felt throughout the room at the lightening-speed of their buzzers whenever the moderator opens with "Category: Marine Biology".

Other schools in the competition included Trinity High School and of course Hunter, both of which also had A, B and C teams. B-Team Captain, Jennifer Yakubov ’20 says "Invitationals was a great opportunity to meet new people. At a competition like this, not only is there time to play and have fun, but also to see how other schools from around NYC compete, and use the insight to get better for the future".

Speaking of fun, the best part of city competitions always takes place after the final buzzer sounds. As per the team’s tradition, Science Bowls at Hunter are followed by a mandatory Shake Shack dinner. So, after a long day’s work with hands tired from buzzing, five separate tables were soon dragged together to seat the group of 19. Burgers eaten and fries consumed, the Midwood Ocean Science Team raised their milkshakes to yet another great competition over.

Alyssa Kattan (Class of 2020)

News update from Midwood Science

Posted on Sunday, March 19, 2017 by for Awards, ISEF, JSHS, Media, Ocean Science, Robotics, St. Joseph's, STS.

Here’s what we’ve been up to in 2017 so far (plus one story from 2016 I finally got around to writing). More good news is sure to follow.

Midwood collects top awards at St. Joseph’s College

Posted on Sunday, February 5, 2017 by for St. Joseph’s.

Nomon Mohammad and Hufsa Tasnim are JSHS Semifinalists

Posted on Friday, February 10, 2017 by for JSHS.

Robotics Team Rolls into Victory at FTC

Posted on Sunday, January 22, 2017 by for Robotics.

Ocean Science Team prepares for competiton

Posted on Sunday, January 22, 2017 by for Ocean Science.

Nomon Mohammed receives 2 badges in the 2017 Regeneron STS

Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 by for Awards, STS.

Urooj Ansari and Bilal Azhar appear on News 12 Brooklyn

Posted on Friday, May 6, 2016 by for ISEF, Media.

Ocean Science Team prepares for competition

Posted on Sunday, January 22, 2017 by for Media, Ocean Science.

As February quickly approaches, the Ocean Science team is preparing for their next big competition.

Ocean Science is an academic competition focusing on topics such as biology, chemistry, physics and geology within the school where they meet three times a week. They prepare to compete in regional tournaments as qualifiers for nationals.

"The team is very dedicated and I’m proud to be a part of it," said Celine Lam ’18.

According to the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, there are 25 regional competitions in which the winner from each will advance to the finals, which are typically held in April. This year’s finals will be held in Corvallis, Oregon, and the top three winners will be awarded with a trip to exciting locations.

Lam says that to do well on the team, you need to have perseverance and to maintain your grades.

The team is divided into two groups, A and B team. These teams usually contain a mix of juniors and seniors, with a few sophomores. In the beginning of the school year, members take a pretest, quizzing their prior knowledge. Throughout the school year, the members go through the rigorous curriculum. Then they take their posttest before their qualifying tournament, which decides whether or not they go into A team, B team, or neither.

Last year’s A team performed extraordinarily well and placed ninth place in the national Ocean Science tournament.

"I do feel tensed because you’re expected to get things right, but nobody’s perfect so we’re all working hard," said Jennifer Phu ’17, captain of the A team.

The assistant coach Ms. Kimberly Lau said, "There is now pressure to maintain the title but they work really hard and are doing even more work than last year’s team."

Ms. Lau has been improving the way the team learns the curriculum. Accommodating their regular weekly lessons, the students this year now create targeted questions for each unit in the modules and create presentations per unit. The team then competes with each other after their lessons are completed. Ms. Lau then decides whether or not each student had mastered the subject before moving on.

The head coach for this year will likely remain the assistant principal, Mr. Alan Stack, due to Ms. Lau’s busy schedule.

"I love how everyone is friendly and competitive at the same time," said newcomer Ivy Li ’18, "I love learning weird facts about animals and teaching about a topic in ocean is helping me build confidence in my everyday life."

The team members are very excited for newcomers and want to see how they play in an actual tournament.

"It’s competitive but in the end, we’re all still a family," said captain of the B team, Saleh Salem ’18, "It’s rigorous but as long as you keep up, it’s worth it."

Usually Ms. Lau approaches potential team members, which most of the time are her outgoing students since she knows them well. However, for students who are eager to join can directly approach Ms. Lau on her off hours.

Written by Ashley Masih and Kareem Ibrahim (Class of 2018).
This article originally appeared in the January 2017 edition of Argus.

Midwood’s Ocean Science Team navigates to a top ten finish at National Ocean Sciences Bowl

Posted on Monday, April 25, 2016 by for Ocean Science.

National Ocean Sciences Bowl logo

It is with great pride and pleasure that I post this report on the Midwood High School Ocean Science Team. We had a great time in North Carolina and went on a tour of the Duke University Marine Lab, climbed to the top of Cape Lookout lighthouse, had a nice dinner at the beautiful Crystal Bay Club, and participated in a career night among other activities. We could have done more, but fortunately we were still busy competing and did not get eliminated early. If anyone has any press contacts please help get this positive story about our school heard.

Five students from Midwood competed against other top high school scholars in the 19th National Finals Competition of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) this past weekend (April 23 and 24) in Morehead City, North Carolina. Midwood gained entrance to the national competition by winning their regional competition, the Bay Scallop Bowl at Stony Brook University, in March. This is the first time students from Midwood have competed in the NOSB and they fared admirably.

4 students seated at the competition desk. 1 student and 2 teachers standing behind them.
Seated: Bart Rosenzweig, Joseph Parziale, Andrew Li, Sam Makarovskiy. Standing: Austin Siu, Alan Stack (administration), Kamil Kraszewski (teacher).

The Midwood Ocean Science team consists of five seniors: Andrew Li (Captain), Samuel Makarovskiy, Joseph Parziale, Bart Rosenzweig, and Austin Siu. The players’ diversity and synergy has been integral to their competitive success. More importantly, these qualities have served to build the beginnings of lifelong friendships. On the flight home Andrew Li said "Midwood has provided me wonderful opportunities and I hope news of our achievement will allow the public to realize how great our Brooklyn school really is."

4 students standing on a decorative planter box. 1 student squatting.
Bart, Joseph, Andrew, Austin, Sam

The Midwood team had to win at least two of four games in the round robin portion of the competition to make the double elimination round, where only the top sixteen remain. The random draw proved to be a difficult one as 3 of the 4 teams Midwood played against ended up in the top ten. Midwood held on to beat Mat-Su High School from Alaska and handily beat Garfield High School from Seattle before facing Boise High School (the two-time defending champion). Midwood led entering the second round of toss up questions but lost a close battle with Boise. Then Midwood faced Albany High School from California, the eventual champions, and after a poor start was down forty points two minutes into the match. Midwood fought back throughout the second set of toss up questions and narrowed the deficit to four points. Had Midwood won this match, Albany High School would have been eliminated before the double elimination rounds.

In the double elimination rounds Midwood lost their first match against Santa Monica High School from California, the eventual 3rd place finisher, but then fought their way onward. Midwood was on the verge of the top eight entering a rematch against Boise. This time Boise held the lead from the beginning of the game and Midwood was tied for 9th. Boise went on to finish 5th.

At the NOSB finals students tested their knowledge of ocean-related topics in the intertwined disciplines of biology, chemistry, policy, physics, and geology. They answer buzzer-style, multiple choice questions, and longer, critical thinking-based team challenge questions. They also participated in a Science Expert Briefing — a mock congressional hearing where they presented science recommendations on a piece of legislation, bettering their understanding on how science informs policy.

5 students seated at the competition desk.
Science Expert Briefing: Joseph Parziale, Samuel Makarovskiy, Bart Rosenzweig, Andrew Li, Austin Siu

The National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) is a program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership based in Washington, DC. NOSB seeks to interest students in pursuing a college degree and future career in the ocean sciences. Through this educational forum, the NOSB strives to encourage and support the next generation of marine scientists, policy makers, teachers, explorers, researchers, technicians, environmental advocates and informed citizens, to consider and appreciate the ocean.

Ocean Science buzzes its way to the top

Posted on Wednesday, March 9, 2016 by for Media, Ocean Science.

2016 Bay Scallop Bowl logo

First place went to Midwood’s Ocean Science Team at the 2016 Bay Scallop Bowl administered by Stony Brook University on Saturday, March 5.

Every year, 16 teams from across the state participate at this regional competition of the National Ocean Science Bowl sponsored chiefly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Simply put, teams of four players compete against one another in rounds structured around two "team challenge questions" sandwiched at the beginning and end by a 6 minute round of buzzer questions. During the buzzer round, multiple-choice toss-up questions are read until a team answers one correctly. That team can then collaborate on a short answer bonus question to score additional points. Team challenges are timed worksheets that require all four players to cooperate and think critically to answer the prompts. The team with the most points at the end of the final buzzer round wins.

The day began at 15 minutes before six in the morning at Midwood on Saturday for the coaches, competitors, and spectators as they boarded the bus to Long Island.

"Midwood has sent a team to the Bay Scallop Bowl for seven years with nothing higher than last year’s third place finish, but I have a gut feeling this year is going to make Midwood history," said A-Team coach Mr. Alan Stack.

Group photo
Bart Rosenzweig, Samuel Makarovskiy, Joseph Parziale, Andrew Li, Austin Siu

This year Midwood, once again, had the opportunity to bring an A- and a B-Team to compete.

"Having a B-Team gives the underclassmen a chance to experience the competition and work through their nerves, so they don’t have to go in blind when they compete for the win next year," said A-Team Captain Andrew Li ’16.

Following a complimentary breakfast and guest speakers, the "group stage" that determined seeding began. In the first round, Midwood’s A-Team faced St. Ann’s who had knocked out Midwood and won it all two years prior.

This year, the Hornets would have none of it. Quick buzzing left St. Ann’s in the dust as A-Team racked up a 98-48 victory.

"Their captain had his face in his hands by the end of the match from being beaten to the buzz on nearly every question," said Mr. Stack with a smile.

B-Team faced a quick buzzing team of its own in Commack but still pulled out a win of 74–58.

In the second round, it was Midwood vs. Midwood, which was the friendliest competition either team faced that day. A-Team and B-Team coaches Mr. Stack and Ms. Kimberly Lau shook hands cheerfully, and the round was off. The A-Team quickly took control and won comfortably 114–17. Nonetheless everyone was all smiles.

Midwood's A-Team on stage

Round 3 pitted the A-Team against Commack and the B-Team against St. Ann’s. The A-Team won convincingly 105–52 by the end despite the shocking speed of Commack’s player 3 and some close calls earlier in the match. The B-Team had it tougher facing St. Ann’s and was down by 18 before the final buzzer round. Then B-Team turned it up and began to interrupt with confidence. They clinched the round 60–53 with a final interrupt and bonus with under ten seconds remaining.

"It was a frenzy. We just answered what we knew," continued B-Team co-Captain Allan Nosov ’17, "Luckily, victory was in the forecast."

That marked the end of group stages with the A-Team sitting at 3–0 and B-Team at 2–1. Following lunch, the A-Team was seeded second and set to face 15 seed Bellport.

The A-Team had trouble early on against the underdog Bellport and was only up by four points after the team challenges. Fortunately, in the final buzzer round the Hornets pulled through and won comfortably 73–36.

"Incorrect interrupts almost cost us there, and although we won, it should have been much cleaner," said Li nervously.

However, the real story was when the seventh seed B-Team was set to face the tenth seed Stuyvesant in Round 4. This was higher stakes than usual because it was single elimination, so a loss here meant a team would be booted from competition. Despite giving it their all, the B-Team fell to Stuyvesant by just over 10 points leaving the remaining eight teams in a double elimination tournament.

Samuel Makarovskiy and Andrew Li holding trophy
Samuel Makarovskiy and Andrew Li

"We were tied before the team challenges, we fell behind afterward, and unfortunately Stuy beat us in on the buzz in the final round," said B-Team player Anne Wang ’17.

"Although, I’m disappointed to lose," stated B-Team Co-Captain Jennifer Phu ’17. "Today made me want to place higher when we come back next year."

As luck would have it, the A-Team would face Stuyvesant in Round 5. The A-Team gritted their teeth for a grudge match but led handily early on keeping Stuyvesant to zero until the team challenges. By the end, Midwood won 102–40.

"That wasn’t too bad because we focus exclusively on ocean science," explained A-Team player Bart Rosenzweig ’16, "But their team was visibly just a general science team which gave us the edge."

Round 6 was the winners’ bracket semifinal, and the A-Team won without a hitch against Woodlands 90–28. Rosenzweig stunned the judges by answering a multiple-choice question on taxonomy verbatim before any choices were read.

Round 7 pitted Midwood against the first seed, host, and returning champion Mount Sinai. There was a crowd of Midwood and Mount Sinai spectators watching this winner’s bracket final that pitted two undefeated Goliaths against each other (figuratively of course, because we’re nerds after all). It was tied at 24 following the first toss up round, but the Hornets trailed at the end of the two team challenges. It was close when the Hornets came to within 6 halfway through the final buzzer round, but an interrupt cost them four points. They fell 57–71.

"We tried hard, but we could’ve been faster," remarked A-Team player Joseph Parziale ’16, "It’s not over yet."

This defeat left Mount Sinai in the grand finals undefeated to face the winner of the losers’ bracket finals. There, in Round 8, Midwood faced Stuyvesant for a rematch. It went the same as the first matc — the A-Team picked up points left and right leading the whole way through, winning by over 30 points.

"That loss could’ve demoralized us, but instead we powered on and got our momentum back," exclaimed A-Team alternate Austin Siu ’16.

That left Midwood with one loss versus undefeated Mount Sinai in Round 9. The Hornets needed to win twice in a row to win it all — no small task.

"Let’s go meet our maker," said Rosenzweig nearly with a straight face.

Coach Lau holding fish-shaped balloon in one hand and trophy in another
Coach Lau

Then they were off. The first buzzer round was a blur, but by the end of it Midwood led by nearly 20 points. Despite taking a net point loss from the team challenge questions, Midwood outpaced Mount Sinai in the final buzzer round and won 87–57.

"The pro-Sinai crowd was shocked silent, and I knew the guys could do it!" cheered Ms. Lau.

Before the final round, at well past six in the evening, Mr. Stack simply said, "You did it once. They’re demoralized. Go out there and show them what you can really do."

At the outset, things looked grim. The A-Team was down 0–20 midway through the buzzer round but managed to scrape back to 14–24 by the end of the round. The challenges came, and Li said he didn’t feel at all confident. After the first challenge scores Midwood was down by 16 points, and the boys in blue sunk in their chairs.

"We knew the second even less than we knew the first," said Parziale grimacing.

To the team’s surprise, Midwood scored four more than Mount Sinai. Then down by 12, the Hornets were back in the game.

"I saw them jump to attention in their seats when they saw the scores, and I knew they were back in it," said spectator Michelle Do ’16.

The six minutes began to tick down. Midwood buzzed in correctly and converted a bonus to a come back at 38–40. Then Sinai lengthened their lead to 44–38. Midwood seized the lead for the first time with another toss-up and bonus conversion making the score 48–44, but Sinai quickly tied with two minutes left.

"They were neck-and-neck, and there were less than two minutes left," said Ms. Lau, "My eyes were glued to the stage, and my nails were clawed into my chair. I can only imagine how the guys on stage were feeling."

After a few incorrect responses on both sides, Midwood broke the tenuous tie and took a 52–48 lead with only 30 seconds left. Mount Sinai needed one question to tie and could win with a bonus.

National Ocean Sciences Bowl logo

The moderator began to read. It was about the Portuguese man o’ war’s anatomy. The reader got to the second choice. There was a buzz, interrupt, recognition, an answer and silence. Time was at five seconds. The reader looked down at the screen. He looked back up and said, "INCORRECT." There was a hush in the crowd. Minus four from Mount Sinai. Mr. Stack threw his hands into the air. Mount Sinai’s player 1 held his head in his hands. Time ran out. Midwood got a full reread and answered correctly. There was applause. The bonus question was foregone. The reader kept reading, but time was out. The time keeper yelled, "GAME." It was Sinai–44 and Midwood–56.

"There it was. Midwood had won, and I couldn’t believe it," gasped Ms. Lau, "I had to wait for the announcer to be sure."

"These guys put in years of work and it paid off in full," said spectator, alumnus, and former Captain Helen Wong ’15.

The next stop for Midwood is National Ocean Sciences Bowl in Morehead City, North Carolina in late April.

"I knew they could do it," concluded Mr. Stack. "I couldn’t be happier for them and what their victory will mean for the school for years to come."

Written by Samuel Makarovskiy (Class of 2016).
A redacted version of this article appeared in the March 2016 edition of Argus.

Ocean Science Team swamps competition

Posted on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 by for Media, Ocean Science.

Astonishingly, Midwood’s Ocean Science Team pulled off a fourth place finish at the city regional of the National Science Bowl at Hunter College High School on March 7.

The National Science Bowl is sponsored by the United States Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation in order to encourage science literacy.

"The sciences are fundamental to our understanding of the world and to progress as a whole," said programmer and impromptu coach Mr. Alan Stack. "This competition serves as a great way to get the youngest generation involved and interested."

The competition consisted of 22 teams from schools across the city such as Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech, Hunter, and, for the first time since 2005, Midwood. There wasn’t just one, but two hornet squads battling it out against top students from across the city.

"We’d never participated in a competition like this one, so we were just hoping for a better than last place finish," said A-Team Captain Helen Wong ’15.

Fortunately for the Ocean Science Team, the format wasn’t much different from the Bay Scallop Bowl in February because the competition was solely double elimination style.

"The question style wasn’t that different either," said B-Team Captain Joseph Parziale ’16. "Most of the material consisted of things we’d already learned in chem, bio, and physics in school or from ocean science."

The most nerve-racking moment of the competition was before it even started according to B-Team player Irla Belli ’16. "Everyone else was fervently studying last minute, and we were just there laughing and having fun," she said.

The first round was just a practice round and both teams won over their competition by at least a 20 point margin.

"That practice round was a major boost to our confidence," A-Team player Bart Rosenzweig ’16 recalled afterwards.

B-Team came close but lost the first two rounds early against Brooklyn Tech C-Team and Trinity School which cast some doubt on A-Team’s chances.

"We didn’t do great, but we got some well needed experience," said Belli.

A-Team walked into their first real match against Brooklyn Tech’s B-Team and stomped them 84-8. Question after question, players buzzed in with one correct answer after another as Brooklyn Tech sat dumbfounded.

Next, A-Team waltzed in confidently against The Browning School’s A-Team and pummeled them 86-30.

"It was a blur," said Wong, "I felt like we were answering every question, and what we didn’t know, they didn’t either."

Tougher competition awaited A-Team in round three. The best of Brooklyn Tech, their A-Team, stood in the way.

At first, it did not look good with only a third of a round gone and A-Team was already down 20 points. Miraculously, some quick buzzing, incorrect interrupts by the opposition, and some clutch 10 point bonus questions closed the gap and Midwood was up by roughly ten points with two minutes to go.

With a minute to go, A-Team converted a 4 point question but missed out on a bonus. The lead was now 56-36, but a quick answer by Tech closed the lead to 56-40. Fortunately for the Hornets, an incorrect bonus question ended the round there.

"My heart stopped," said Ms. Kimberly Lau. "Before I saw the lead was insurmountable, I thought that one question could’ve cost us."

A-Team then faced off against Hunter’s A-Team, and an early deficit was never made up leading to defeat. In the following match, a tie at 28 at the half against Hunter’s B-Team, resulted in a 94-32 loss.

"The end wasn’t too exciting because we weren’t neck and neck," admitted Wong, "However, the end result was amazing. We’d only prepared for two hours for the competition and ended fourth."

Regis High School ended up winning from the loser’s bracket over Hunter’s B and A Teams in succession, and its team will go to the state regional.

Against all odds, Midwood’s teams showed up expecting the worst and gave it their all. Competitive experience from the Bay Scallop Bowl in February helped , but dedication on the part of the players was what really gave Midwood the edge.

"Next year we’ll be ready, and we’ll try to win it all because now we know exactly what we’re getting into," concluded Mr. Stack.

Written by Samuel Makarovskiy.
This article originally appeared in the March 2015 edition of Argus.

Midwood High School shows strong at NYC Science Bowl

Posted on Sunday, March 8, 2015 by for Ocean Science.

On Saturday, March 7th, Midwood sent a group of ten students to the New York City High School Regional competition of the US Department of Energy National Science Bowl. Twenty two teams entered the event, which was held at Hunter College High School on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Midwood students have not participted in a regional qualifier for the National Science Bowl since 2005 when the closest regional event was at Brookhaven National Laboratories in Suffolk County. The teams at this year’s competition represented some of the best schools in New York City — including teams from specialized high schools (Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech, Queens High School for the Sciences) and elite private schools (Dalton, Trinity, Horace Mann, Browning).

It is with great pleasure that I announce that Midwood’s A team finished the competition as the fourth best team and the third best school. Regis High School won the competition behind the strength of one phenomenal senior who had received grades of 5 on Advanced Placement Chemistry and Calculus BC as an 8th grader. Hunter College High School defended their home turf with teams taking second, third, and fifth place. Midwood A was one of the last two undefeated teams remaining in the competition before losing consecutive matches to Hunter A and Hunter B. Not only did Midwood’s A team show they could compete, Midwood’s B team finished in a tie for 13th place.

The Midwood A team consists of Helen Wong (senior), Bart Rosenzweig (junior), Samuel Makarovskiy (junior), Austin Siu (junior), and Laila Akallal (junior). The Midwood B team consists of Joseph Parziale (junior), Irla Belli (junior), Elizabeth Skapley (sophomore), Jennifer Phu (sophomore), and Ethan Sam (sophomore). All of the students who took part in this competition are members of Midwood’s Ocean Science Team. These students have worked very hard to be as successful as they are. A great deal of credit should be given to Helen Wong for encouraging their studies and Ms. Kimberly Lau for giving them so much of her free time.

Ocean Science Team captures third place

Posted on Monday, February 23, 2015 by for Media, Ocean Science.

Midwood’s Ocean Science Team pulled out a third place victory at the Bay Scallop Bowl at Stony Brook University on Saturday, February 7.

There were 16 teams from across the state in the competition with Midwood contributing both an A and B-Team to the competition. The competition started with a three round "round robin" tournament within a division which determined seeding for a single elimination game in the fourth round. After that round four single elimination game, the remaining eight teams played the rest of the tournament in double elimination style. A loss there would put a team in the losing bracket and another loss thereafter would end their run in the competition.

"We’re super psyched for today’s competition," said A-Team Captain Helen Wong ’15 on the bus ride there.

The day began under Midwood’s Greco-Roman columns at six in the morning when the two teams (A and B), their respective coaches (Mr. Alan Stack and Ms. Kimberly Lau), and some potential recruits boarded the bus to Stony Brook University.

"On the bus ride there, we reviewed some things we hadn’t covered thoroughly," said A-Team player Bart Rosenzweig ’16.

Upon arrival the teams ate a complimentary breakfast to settle some nerves before the first match.

"When I saw the first team, Mt. Sinai High School, my heart stopped," said A-Team coach, Mr. Alan Stack. "They’re the toughest competition at the tournament, and they’re A-Team’s first match."

The round against Mt. Sinai was close but A-Team pulled through with a close 85-76 point win. That nine point difference could have easily been erased with one question pair.

Team A: Samuel Makarovskiy, Bart Rosenzweig, Helen Wong, Andrew Li

"When we beat them, we felt so much more confident of our chances," said Wong.

A-Team’s next two rounds were 143-47 and 100-53 point blowout wins against The Stony Brook School and Farmingdale High School B-team respectively.

"In a scrim a few months ago, we had lost to Farmingdale, and this was a great consolation," said A-Team player Andrew Li ’16.

B-Team lost the first two rounds by a small margin to Churchville-Chili Senior High School and Massapequa High School. In Round 3, B-Team made a comeback in the final seconds and pulled out a win by a hair against Deer Park High School.

"I just got in the zone answering questions, and the next thing I knew we won," said B-Team player Joseph Parziale ’16.

After lunch the placements were in for the round four single elimination game. A-Team got seeded second due to their 3-0 record and went up against 15 seed Division Avenue High School. B-team was seeded tenth against seventh seed Hunter College High School.

A-Team won a relatively close match in Round 4 against Division Avenue 91-47 and survived single elimination.

"That was a weight off of our shoulders for sure because now we have some breathing room," said Wong.

Team B: Rumsha Javed, Laila Akallal, Joseph Parziale, Nicholas Christensen

Unfortunately, B-Team lost by five points to Hunter in the single elimination round ending their run in the competition then and there.

"Although we lost, I feel like we did pretty well and the matches were really close," said B-Team Captain Laila Akallal ’16.

Next round A-team played Hunter in the first double elimination and beat them thoroughly 104-26 as payback for B-team.

"I’m incredibly proud that they scored over 100 points in a double elimination round," said Ms. Lau. "The questions are so much harder at that stage in the competition."

Round 6 against third seed Great Neck South High School started off with an early 40-0 point deficit. After an attempted comeback, A-Team lost 94-40.

"We can’t slack off like that again," said Rosenzweig, "They were faster, but we should’ve buzzed in even if we weren’t 100 percent sure."

A-Team came back in Round 7 in the losers’ bracket winning 85-49 over Churchville-Chili High School from Rochester.

"That was a boost to our confidence," said Li. "We were faster on the buzzer and more confident in our answers which really paid off."

By Round 8 there were four teams left, and Mt. Sinai had won the winner’s bracket. A-Team was slated against Longwood High School, and the round was played on the auditorium stage with dozens of spectators. Early on, A-Team pulled ahead by 20 points, and held onto the lead carrying it through to the end.

"In that round there wasn’t much we didn’t know," said Wong. "Considering it’s a later round, it says a lot about the work we put in."

Teacher Advisors: Ms. Kimberly Lau, Mr. Alan Stack

Great Neck South was A-Team’s opponent in Round 9, and it was dead even off the bat at 20-20 points. In the last few seconds, unfortunate penalties for interrupted wrong answers cost the A-Team. The final score was extremely close at 54-49.

"We gave it our best, we knew the answers, and it just came out to the luck of the draw," said Rosenzweig.

Great Neck South went onto the finals and lost to Mt. Sinai who will now go to nationals in April in Mississippi. Midwood A-Team came out in third place and secured a spot for next year.

"I’m not at all disappointed with the result because we learned a lot, had a lot of fun, and did our best," said Wong.

"Every year our performance improves, and this year we beat out last year’s fifth place high water mark with our highest rank yet," said Mr. Stack. "Ms. Lau and I couldn’t be prouder of this year’s teams and are looking forward to next year."

Written by Samuel Makarovskiy.
This article originally appeared in the February 2015 edition of Argus.

Ocean Science Team requires intense studying

Posted on Monday, February 2, 2015 by for Media, Ocean Science.

Ocean science is tougher than it seems. With multiple branches of science involved such as Physics, Biology, Environmental Science, Earth Science, and Astronomy, the Ocean Science Team is constantly studying and working hard. Their acquired knowledge is then shown in a regional competition in the late winter followed by national competition in the early spring if they place first in regionals.

The Ocean Science Team consists of many of the school’s top students from sophomores to seniors. Many of them have been on the team for two to three years now. The team looks for people who have an interest in science and who are up for a challenge. Mr. Alan Stack, coach of the team, created the team because the Bay Scallop Bowl caught his attention.

Students are invited to join based on how they can handle an abundant amount of work, their grades, and their attitude. Those who are interested in the team, but aren’t invited, may join as well by an interview with the coaches and a trial period. During the trial period they are with the team for a year and the coaches evaluate their progress on how well they handle the workload. One must be able to keep up with the material taught at the team meetings as well as schoolwork.

"This is a team that requires a lot of dedication and commitment," said Ms. Kimberly Lau, current assistant coach of the team.

The 2015 Midwood Ocean Science Team

The team meets up Tuesdays through Thursdays in room A215. The coaches provide them with different textbooks to cover the many areas of ocean science. During the meetings, team members self-teach and teach each other the material. They create outlines and study sheets based on the textbooks.

"I like how the club works," said Austin Siu ’16 a current member of the team. "Everyone is committed to what they’re doing and it makes me motivated to put in the same amount of effort.

In preparation for the Bay Scallop Bowl regional competition on February 7 at Stony Brook University, the team is working on questions provided by their coaches and vocabulary to test their knowledge. The competitions are a test of speed along with intelligence. They are having mock competitions against each other to see how fast their buzzing skills are and what they need to improve on.

"We try and practice buzzer sessions at least once a week and we have Ms. Lau and Mr. Stack constantly make up new questions for us to answer," said Helen Wong’15, team member for three years and current captain.

For the competition this year the team is split into two, team A and team B. For the first time a B team is created so newer teammates can experience the competition firsthand instead of watching from the crowd. There are four members on each team with one alternative team member each. They race against another team from a different school to see who buzzes in the correct answer first.

"During the competition, I would feel equal parts excited and apprehensive. There’s always a rush when you know the answer to a question and you beat the other team to the buzzer," Wong said.

Last year the Ocean Science Team placed fifth out of 16 schools in the regionals. This year, to improve in the competition, members are well rounded in their knowledge. They all keep up with the same material by reviewing weekly self-made outlines and textbooks together.

"This year instead of having students with different strong points, everyone is well rounded with what they know," Ms. Lau said.

First place in the regionals gives students a ticket to the national competition. First place in nationals gives the students a scholarship to a college with a marine science major. However, many students choose to stay on the team out of sincere interest, for a challenge, as well as to expand their comprehension of ocean science.

Written by Kelly Yuen
This article originally appeared in the January 2015 edition of Argus.