Blazers compete in physics competition

Nov. 21, 2006, midnight | By Andrew Kung | 17 years ago

Blair team captures top honors

Blair students competed in Final Frontiers, a regional multi-event physics competition, on Saturday Nov. 11 at Wootton High School. Blair ended with two first place finishes, two second place finishes and one third place finish.

Final Frontiers is a county-wide competition sponsored by the Maryland Business Roundtable in which students complete tasks involving engineering, space and physics. The overarching goal of Final Frontiers is to "expose students to engineering," according to Edward Dalton, co-coordinator of the event.

"We want to build an interest in engineering," he said, adding that students will continue their education and perhaps return to the area and contribute to local companies.

For all the events except Newton's Nightmare and the Mystery Event, students designed their product beforehand and competed against amongst themselves to find the best design, which was then chosen to represent Blair at the county competition. This year, the Blair team assigned AP Physics classes to the competition along with the usual Physics Team.

In the Newton's Nightmare event, in which teams answered physics and space-related questions on a written test, sophomores Aki Hogge, Frank Wen and Edward Gan won first place in the non-AP Physics division while the juniors Benjamin Lee and Tim Peng and senior Cyril Lan placed first in the AP Physics division.

The event was marred with some controversy though, as a rule misunderstanding disqualified Blair's freshman team of Jacob Hurwitz, Anand Oza and Li Ma. They sought to compete in the grades 8-9 division, but are currently enrolled in first-year physics, so were placed in the non-AP Physics division. Since Blair already had a team in that division, they were disqualified. The freshman team would have finished second behind Blair's sophomore team.

Seniors Rose Fan and Wenjia Zhu took second place in the Shuttle Arm competition, where competitors designed before the lightest, longest arm capable of moving a mass 30 cm above a table.

Sophomores Xin Shan, Deb Sen and Ya Zha finished third in the grades 10-12 Satellite Snatch, a head-to-head event in which the teams created devices capable of "snatching" three ping-pong balls faster than their opponents'.

The Blair team took second in the Mystery Event competition, in which all the team members worked together on the spot to create a device out of paper and tape that could roll the longest distance off an inclined plane. Blair teams did not finish in the competition's other events.

Team sponsor and Blair physics teacher James Schafer, who had hoped that incorporating the AP Physics classes into the competition this year would yield better results, was very satisfied with the outcome of the competition, although overall the team performed about as well as it did last year.

"All the kids did their best," he said. "I think we represented Blair well." The students reflected Schafer's sentiments.

"We practiced hard for this competition. All in all, we deserved what we got," said Peng. "Churchill and Wootton [the second and third place teams] were tough competitors, and we're very satisfied with the results."

For many the Blair competitors, the event was a learning experience and their hopes are high for future competitions.

"We got different ideas and more knowledge from watching the competition," said Shan, who hopes to return with her team again in next year's contest.

"We're going to do better next year," said her teammate Sen. "We're shooting for first place."


Aero Car - Sam Prager

Shuttle Arm - Rose Fan, Wenjia Zhu

Lunar Bridge - none

Newton's Nightmare:

   Freshman - Jacob Hurwitz, Anand Oza, Li Ma

   Non-AP - Edward Gan, Aki Hogge, Frank Wen

   AP - Cyril Lan, Benjamin Lee, Tim Peng

Satellite Snatch:

   Grade 9 - Stephen Carlson, Ben Shaya, Chenyu Zhao

   Grade 10 - Xin Shan, Deb Sen, Ya Zha

All Results:

Untitled Document

Event Grades 8-9 Grades 10-12
Lunar Bridge 1. Cabin John MS
2. Forest Oak MS
3. Northwest HS
1. Whitman HS
2. Walter Johnson HS
3. Clarksburg HS
Aero Car 1. Wootton HS
2. Forest Oak MS
3. Northwest HS
1. Northwest HS
2. Churchill HS
3. Whitman HS
Shuttle Arm 1. Forest Oak MS
2. Clarksburg HS
3. Einstein HS
1. Whitman HS
2. Blair HS
3. Walter Johnson HS
Satellite Snatch 1. Wootton HS
2. Gaithersburg HS
3. Forest Oak MS
1. Churchill HS
2. Whitman HS
3. Blair HS
Mystery Event 1. Forest Oak MS
2. Cabin John MS
3. Frost MS
1. Wootton HS
2. Blair HS
3. Churchill HS
Newton's Nightmare
8-9 Non-Physics
Non-AP Physics
AP Physics
1. Takoma Park MS
2. Wootton HS
3. Frost MS
1. Blair HS
2.Wootton HS
3.Churchill HS
1. Blair HS
2. Churchill HS
3. Wootton HS

Andrew Kung. Andrew Kung is a rising Magnet junior who is psyched for a year of Chips Online. He has lived in New York, Michigan, and New Mexico prior to his current residence in Maryland. As a cynical sports fan, he is not often disappointed, but not … More »

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