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Four local squads in World Odyssey of Mind

By David L. Shaw Staff writer

A team from Port Byron, one from Weedsport and two from Skaneateles earn trip.

Four local teams one each from Port Byron and Weedsport, and two from Skaneateles earned the right to compete in the World Odyssey of the Mind competition May 23 in East Lansing, Mich.

The four teams earned the right with their performance in this past weekend's state Odyssey of the Mind tournament in Binghamton.

The Port Byron team finished second in the Division III or high school category in the "I'm Thinking of You!" problem-solving competition.

Five of the seven team members have been together for eight years and went to the world competition in 2004.

For senior Jeff Abraham, it was an emotional performance in Binghamton. He said the team members worked hard to do well because they wanted one last trip to the world competition.

"We're going to the worlds. That's pretty cool. It's a great honor," Abraham said.

Abraham and the other core members of Patrick Fagan, Christie Gleason, Doug Sheffield and Frank Smart, along with teacher and coach Nancy Murinka, who's been with them since fourth grade, now face a dilemma of sorts.

The world competition is the same weekend as the senior class trip to Virginia Beach.

Abraham said the three seniors himself, Fagan and Gleason will have to give up the senior trip to go to the world tournament.

Murinka is senior class adviser, and she is obligated to go to the senior class trip.

That means they'll have to get another coach for the world competition.

The Weedsport High School team won the long-term "Ranatra Fusca" award in the "Out of the Box Balsa" Division III category.

Team members Randy Condes, Erin Daly, Lori Hotchkiss, Jim Putvin, Jordan Roe, Nicole Slauson and Megan Wager are coached by Judith Sheridan.

The Skaneateles Middle School Team A finished second in the "Tag 'Em," Division II competition to earn their trip to Michigan.

Skaneateles' State Street Elementary School Team B finished second in the "I'm Only Thinking of You" Division I competition to earn the right to compete in the world competition.

The local teams earned a spot in the state tournament with their performances in the Region 11 competition March 10 in Auburn.

Odyssey of the Mind is a problem-solving, creative competition that has teams in similar age groups compete against each other in five types of problem-solving exercises.

Other local teams who competed in the state tournament were State Street Elementary School Teams A and B, Moravia High School, Skaneateles High School, West Middle School of Auburn, Auburn High School, Weedsport Elementary School, Skaneateles Middle School and Weedsport Junior-Senior High School.

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