| The Daily Star |
Sidney team continues Odyssey to world event


By Amy L. Ashbridge
Staff Writer

Fire trucks greeted a Sidney Middle School Odyssey of the Mind team when it came home Saturday from the state competition.

The school's Division II team for "Out of the Box" won second place in its problem and division, and also received the Ranatra Fusca award for creativity. Winning those awards means the team is going to the world competition at Michigan State University in May.

Team members were Collin Brandl, Shana Gascon, Andrew Houck, Taylor Howes, Zachary Knapp and Hunter Sowersby.

"I am so proud of these kids," said Superintendent Sandra Cooper. "They came into town with a fire truck parade, as we have for all our champions."

All of the students on the team are sixth-graders; Cooper said this was the first year the team competed.

"I'm really proud," Andrew said. "We got two medals at the state competition, and I'm hanging them in my room."

Andrew's mother, Edie Houck, one of the coaches for the team, said this was the first team she coached and will be her first trip to the world competition.

"They did awesome this year," Houck said. "I'm very proud of the team.''

She noted that she participated in Odyssey of the Mind when Michael Dionne was coaching at Sidney. Her son wanted to get involved, so she volunteered to coach the team, she said, adding that she's looking forward to going to the championship and seeing how other teams from across the country and the world solve their problems.

"Out of the Box" was this year's balsa project. The students had to build a structure from balsa wood and test it to see how much weight it could carry.

The Sidney team's structure held 686.5 pounds. It didn't hold the most weight of the competition _ a team from York Central School held 851.5 pounds and came in third _ but Dionne said the students' creativity gave them the edge.

"It was good, old-fashioned humor," Dionne said.

To win the award for creativity, Dionne said, "was a real shocker."

Getting second place just topped that, he said Sunday. Dionne said the kids then knew they were going to the world competition based on merit _ and not just because the judges liked the creativity.

"I was really surprised," said 11-year-old Hunter. "I was excited that we're going to worlds."

He said his favorite part of the skit was working with the weights.

"We had a lot of ideas and we added them to the skit," Hunter said. "It's a fun experience for all the kids."

Cooper said she saw the students perform in Binghamton on Saturday morning.

"It was a beautiful morning with them pulling it off perfectly," Cooper said Sunday.

A second team from Sidney, the Division II team for "I'm Only Thinking of You," came in 11th place at the state competition. Cooper said both teams did a wonderful job.

Sherburne-Earlville Central School is sending two teams to the world finals. Its Division II team for "The Long and the Short of It" received first place and the Ranatra Fusca; Team A for Division III of "The Long and the Short of It" also received first place. Each event had teams placed in one of three divisions.

The full list of results is available at www.nysoma.org.




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