Lana Hiskey

On May 15 and 16, 17 students from Maple Mountain High School competed at the prestigious National Science Olympiad competition at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Maple Mountain proudly represented Nebo School District and the State of Utah as they faced off in events of science, technology and engineering against 60 other schools from across the country. This is the first time a high school team from Nebo School District has been selected to go to the national competition and Maple Mountain put up an outstanding performance, taking 39th place overall – the best a team from Utah has done in the last eight years.

Science Olympiad consists of 24 events where members of the team compete as a pair in pre-built engineering challenges, laboratory skills, and knowledge quizzes. A few members of our team achieved the distinct honor of placing in the top twenty for their events. John Baadsgaard and Heidyn von Bose placed 12th in two events – Entomology and Hydrogeology. Daniel Tolley and Michaela McCown placed 11th in Game On, an event where competitors make a computer game in less than an hour. Samuel Dallon and Rachel Bybee placed 20th in Disease Detectives, an event where you must solve a problem using epidemiology and statistics. Finally, John Baadsgaard and Keith Hill placed 19th in the Fossils Event. To place in the top 20 at nationals is a huge accomplishment and represents a huge investment of practice and study throughout the course of many school years. (Yes you read that correctly – years!)

Members of the 2015 Utah State National Science Olympiad Team:
Rachel Bybee, John Baadsgaard, Samuel Dallon, Rebecca Bair, Scott Griffin, Tyler Mortensen, Robert Nay, Jon Smith, Jason Syndergaard, Daniel Tolley, Keith Hill, Michaela McCown, Jonny Stites, Ryan Smith, Adam Syndergaard, Heidyn von Bose, and Shayla Nielson.

Advisor Kyle Miller said, “A huge thank you to parents, teachers, mentors, and members of the community who have supported the Science Olympiad team and Maple Mountain in their quest for excellence in the Sciences. Without this support, we would never have reached this accomplishment.”

While the team will be losing a core of seniors next year, they are already making plans for next year’s competition, complete with a whole new set of events. Next year, some of the new events will be focused on sources of alternative energy, building a functioning wind turbine, making a model electric car, identification and understanding of invasive species, building a robot, and using the international protein database to make accurate models. These events will fold in with the classic yearly competition in events such as anatomy, astronomy, bridge building, cell biology, chemistry lab, disease detectives, and forensics.

Maple Mountain is always looking for more students that want to participate on the Science Olympiad team. The team meets throughout the year, practicing, designing, building, testing, and preparing for local, state, and now the national competition. Please come be a part of the Science Olympiad team at Maple Mountain and become a part of establishing a tradition of scientific excellence.

If you are interested in supporting the team in any way please contact Coach Miller or Coach Ritchie at or

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