The halls of the Mary Townes Science Building were quiet enough to hear a pen drop on Saturday as high schools across the state gathered to compete in the North Carolina High School Regional Science Bowl hosted at N.C. Central University for the 22nd year in a row.
Competitors were asked questions in mathematics and multiple scientific fields including chemistry, astronomy and computer science. Despite the variety of topics, the students have to think quick on their feet — each round is only eight minutes long with only five seconds alloted to answer a toss-up and 20 for bonus questions.
“It’s certainly an intense competition,” said organic chemist and Charlotte County Day School coach Tom Collins. Collins mentioned how his team players went against faculty of their school to practice for Science Bowl.
The final matches involved three schools: Simon G. Academic & Technology Atkins High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina School of Science and Math in Durham, and William G. Enloe High School in Raleigh. NCSSM and Atkins faced off first with the winner, NCSSM, advancing with 76 points to challenge Enloe in the finals.
By the fourth round, Enloe and NCSSM were tied 2–2. This last round determined everything — whoever won would go to compete in April at the National Science Bowl in Washington D.C.
Teammates and coaches sat in the audience waiting on the winner, anticipation growing with every question answered. Enloe was originally in the lead before NCSSM kept up a steady answer streak by correctly answering ten-point bonus questions and four-point toss-ups questions along the way.
On top of their astonishment at their third regional win in as many years, NCSSM also placed second and third for Regionals. One team member even began crying with excitement.
Junior Anirudh Hari described the win, his first at the bowl, as “unexpected.”
“(Enloe) was tougher than any other rounds we’d had before,” Hari explained. “I’m just really proud of our team for pulling it off.”