Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

Langley Park-McCormick Elementary falls to Hollywood Elementary in Science Bowl

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Competing in the Science Bowl for just the second time in school history, students from Langley Park-McCormick Elementary School lost 250-95 to College Park’s Hollywood Elementary on Tuesday.

Hollywood eventually beat Accokeek’s Henry Ferguson Elementary and will compete in the semifinal competition in February.

Langley Park-McCormick made it to the semifinal elemination round last year, said Ruthe Saucedo, who sponsored the team last year.

‘‘Hollywood has been here twice already,” said the bowl’s host, Dave Zahren, adding Tuesday’s game was the first time for Langley Park-McCormick to appear on the show this year. ‘‘The team did so well last year they earned a bye. They got to skip around.”

Since the school competed so well last year, it received a bye and skipped the quarterfinal elimination round this year, Zahren said.

The Science Bowl, in its 22nd season, is a county school-sponsored televised quiz bowl competition open to elementary and middle school students. Students are quizzed in categories such as ‘‘Zoo Parade,” which deals with animals, and ‘‘Let’s Get Physical,” which focuses on physics and chemistry.

The Langley Park-McCormick team, which consisted of Yakira Cordon, 10, Trishan Deva, 11 and Paulan Smith, 11, said they prepared by researching online about nature and weather, quizzing each other and keeping up with science in the news.

But they did not practice in the Science Bowl format, Cordon said. During the bowl, the host asks questions to two teams of students, and the team captain buzzes in if their team believes it has the correct answer.

Unfortunately for Langley Park-McCormick, the lack of practice showed, as the Hollywood team worked together with all three students — Danielle White, 10, Samuel Moon, 11 and Ben Kim, 12 — all placing their hands on the buzzer together. That way, when one teammate knew the answer, they could simply press team captain Kim’s hand to set off the buzzer.

The Langley Park-McCormick team was visibly disappointed with its performance, but Cordon, the only team member who would be able to represent the school again next year, remained positive. Deva and Smith, both in sixth grade, will move on to middle school next school year.

‘‘I was nervous because we were going to be on TV and I didn’t want to lose,” said Cordon, who is in the fifth grade. ‘‘But there’s always next year.”

The two first-round semifinal elimination matches between Langley Park-McCormick and Hollywood, and Henry Ferguson and Lanham’s James McHenry Elementary School will air March 31 through April 6 on Cable Channel 96. The second-round semifinal elimination match between Hollywood and Henry Ferguson will air April 21-27.