Manistee High Science Olympiad team finishes third at competition

HOLLAND — Over the past several years Manistee Area Public Schools Science Olympiad coaches Kevin Postma and Bridget Warnke have been building a team that will hopefully once again contend for a state title.

The Chippewas traveled to West Ottawa High School on Saturday where they competed in one of the premier Science Olympiad competitions. Postma and Warnke were left smiling at the end of the day when their team won a third place trophy in a 32-team field that included some of the best teams in the state.

“We knew that we had a good team, but we didn’t realize how great they are this year,” said Postma. “The key to our success isn’t accidental. These kids are bright and they have parents that push them and they have excellent teachers. Most importantly though, they have a strong work ethic.”

Postma said that the students put in a great deal of effort to prepare for the events. He said they also receive great community support.

“Our industries and local businesses have been very supportive over the years at helping us build a strong science program at MAPS and we are very thankful,” said Postma.

At the West Ottawa tournament, strong efforts came from Katie Huber and Liam Quinn, who teamed up for a first place effort in Fermi Questions.

Manistee also earned many points from second place finishes from the teams of Maddie Verheek and Eleanor Scarlata (anatomy and physiology), Luke Herberger and Titus Lind (boomliver), Solana Postma and Scarlata (water quality), and Nicole Weaver and Mia Briske (write it, do it).

Third place efforts were received from Mason Schaubroeck, Brynn O’Donnell and Roger Lind (protein modeling), and Brynn O’Donnell and Katie Huber (thermodynamics).

Three teams finished in fourth place in their division including Roger and Titus Lind (circuit lab), Titus Lind (mission possible), Roger Lind and Weaver (mousetrap car).

Those who finished in fifth place in their division were Huber and Quinn (chemistry lab), Herberger and Jack Holtgren (wright stuff) and  Scarlatta, Postma and Kiera Raymond (herpetology). One team finished in sixth place: Schaubroeck and Heather Antal (designer genes).

Rounding out the scoring were seventh place efforts from Grant Schlaff (dynamic planet), Verheek and Quinn (forensics), and Verheek and Schaubroeck (disease detectives).

Warnke said the West Ottawa competition is a good measuring stick for the team.

“Beyond exposing them to a deeper science understanding, the competition aspect gives them a chance to measure themselves against other top students from the West side of the state,” she said. “We usually do alright with a few events, but tend to get trounced by the bigger schools.”

Postma agreed, but said it is a good learning lesson for the students.

“Warnke and I refuse to let our kids pity themselves and believe that our MAPS kids need to see themselves as equals to students from top science schools,” said Postma. “Just because they are from a small town doesn’t mean they are every bit as capable as a student from Detroit Country Day.”

The coaches said the team didn’t need any pep talk this year and went out and bested schools like West Ottawa, Portage Northern, Portage Central, Jenison, Plymouth Christian, Hasting Allendale and others.

“These schools perennially dominate the state competition and a few have even recently won the state tournament,” said Postma.

Next up for the Chippewas will be the Regional Tournament at Mid Michigan Community College in Mount Pleasant.


Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at

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