A brainy medical question propelled Sacramento's Mira Loma High School to its third national math and science title.
Monday in Washington, D.C., Mira Loma won the 23rd annual National Science Bowl. Coached by teacher James Hill, the school's four-person team defeated previously unbeaten North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics twice in the finals to clinch the double-elimination tournament.
Representing Mira Loma were students Saaket Agrawal, Siddharth Trehan, Daniel Shen and Jack Gurev. As their prize, they'll embark on a nine-day, all-expense-paid science field trip to Alaska including explorations of the Copper River Delta, Chugach National Forest and Prince William Sound. In addition, they'll see glaciers and wildlife sanctuaries. They also received a $1,000 check for use on school science projects.
Mira Loma also won the National Science Bowl in 2009 and 2011.
Hosted by the Department of Energy at the National Building Museum, the championship came down to knowing something about the human brain: Which damaged cranial nerve would account for a list of specific symptoms, including facial muscle paralysis and an inability to wrinkle the forehead. Mira Loma knew the correct answer (CN VII) to take home the science crown.
The victory topped off a remarkable Mira Loma run in the tournament. After dropping their first match, the Sacramento students won eight consecutive rounds in two days to become champions.
Starting with 69 regionals, more than 9,000 high school students on 1,894 teams took part in this year's National Science Bowl.
Call The Bee's Debbie Arrington, (916) 321-1075. Follow her in Twitter @debarrington.