Huron High School Science Bowl team headed to nationals after regionals win

Left to right: Coach Michael Damron, Tanay Panja, Anita Gaenko, Akshar Cowlagi, Nathan Leung, Zachary Lin, and Coach Nicole Lemon.

After a solid win at the Michigan Regional Competition of the U. S. Department of Energy’s National Science Bowl in February, the Huron High School Science Bowl Team is headed for nationals.  
“The team won the competition after five rounds, with no other team coming close to Huron’s performance,” said coach and Huron science teacher Michael Damron.
This is the second time in a row that Huron has won. Last year, the team won at states, made it to nationals, and was placed in the top 32 teams in a virtual competition.
Having won this regional this year, the team has been invited by the Department of Energy to compete at the 2023 National Science Bowl in a free trip to Washington, D.C. from April 27th through May 1st.
This year’s team consists of Akshar Cowlagi (co-captain), Anita Gaenko (co-captain), Nathan Leung, Zachary Lin, and Tanay Panja, who will be joined in D.C. by their coaches, Damron and fellow Huron science teacher Nicole Lemon.
The team looks forward to representing Huron in Washington D.C. among a field of 60 high school teams from across the nation. 
“This was my first year doing Science Bowl,” said junior Nathan Leung. “I most enjoyed the aspect of working together as a team to solve problems.”
Freshman Tanay Panja, despite only being in his first year of high school, has previous Science Bowl experience. 
“I participated in the middle school Science Bowl for three years,” he said. “I found the high school experience to actually be more enjoyable while also providing me with valuable lessons on teamwork.”
Junior Anita Gaenko has done Science Bowl since 8th grade, but this was her first year as a co-captain.
“I was really excited to take home the win again this year because it made me more confident that the first time wasn’t just luck,” she said. “I’m proud of our performance and how we were able to support each other, both in practice and at the competition.”
Fellow co-captain, junior Akshar Cowlagi, is excited about the competition ahead.
“Despite having won regionals before, I’m thrilled to attend the in-person competition in Washington DC and meet new people,” he said. “I can’t wait to keep winning at Nationals.”
But for junior Zachary Lin, in his first year on the team, the team’s success was more of a surprise.
“I was surprised that our team did so well at the regional level,” he said. “I had lost a different team competition a few weeks before that so I wasn’t feeling the most confident going in.”

The National Science Bowl is a science education and academic competition among teams of high school and middle school students who compete in a fast-paced verbal forum solving technical problems and answering questions in all branches of science and math.

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