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Burton 'Odyssey of the Mind' teams headed to state


The Burton School District Odyssey of the Mind team sent four groups to the regional competition — and all four are moving on to the next level.

Students were given a scenario, and asked to come up with a solution and an explanatory background story.

The resulting creations ranged from a complicated control board to a surprisingly sturdy balsa wood column, and earned three first place and a second place standing, earning each team the right to move on to state competition.

Students from Summit Charter Academy and Burton Middle School competed for the Burton District team.

“I thought they were going to do well, but I didn’t think they were going to run the table,” Hoss McNutt, the Odyssey Program coach, said.

One of the teams was made up entirely of students new to the Odyssey of the Mind competition.

They spent more than two months preparing their project, seventh grade competitor Jesus Nunez said.

He and his team members used an insect theme in their project’s construction, earning creativity points from the judges.

They earned second place in their division, which they said was below their high expectations.

“It was satisfying but it would have been better to come back with first place,” eighth grader Chris Cupero said.

Odyssey veteran Nick Garcia said their team, which put together a contraption that could pull something behind it, ran into a small snag at competition.

“We practiced on linoleum and it went well, but at the competition we had to do it on wood,” he said.

They plan to improve the oar-like pieces of their project prior to the statewide competition in Brentwood on Mar. 27.

McNutt said that having four teams of varying experience levels at the competition led to a beneficial result — camaraderie.

“The older students got the younger kids excited about competing,” he said.

He expects good results at the March competition as well, as the Burton teams face off against teams from throughout California.

“I think they’ll do very well,” he said.

-- Contact Sarah de Crescenzo at 784-5000, Ext. 1045, or sdecrescenzo@portervillerecorder.com.

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