Mira Loma students win top honors in National Science Bowl - again

Students at Mira Loma High School in Sacramento won the 2014 National Science Bowl championship on Monday – the school’s fourth national win in the last six years.

Mira Loma defeated Westview High School from Portland, Ore., in the final round of the Washington, D.C. competition sponsored by the Office of Science in the U.S. Department of Energy.

The Mira Loma team consisted of: seniors Preethi Raju and Matt Kempster; juniors Daniel Shen and Arvind Sundararajan; and sophomore Jack Gurev.

Principal Rich Nichols called coach and teacher James Hill a “phenomenal teacher.”

“He works hard at it. It’s fun to be around him,” Nichols said. “It’s like being in Bill Nye The Science Guy’s TV show every day that I walk in.”

In 2012, Hill told The Sacramento Bee he had taken 13 teams to the national event and placed in the top 16 almost every year.

Mira Loma won the national competition in 2009, 2011 and 2013.

“I congratulate this year’s National Science Bowl Champions, as well as all of the finalists, for their remarkable success in this highly competitive and prestigious academic tournament,” Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said in a prepared statement. “These students are our Nation’s future scientists and engineers, and they will help sustain America’s competitiveness.”

More than 9,300 high school students and 5,200 middle school students throughout the nation competed regionally.

Mira Loma and Westview were among 68 high school regional champions in the finals.

The Mira Loma team will receive a nine-day, all-expenses-paid science trip to Alaska, where students will learn about glaciology, marine and avian biology, geology and plate tectonics.

Students will explore the Copper River Delta, hike the Chugach National Forest, white-water raft on the Sheridan River and cross the scenic Prince William Sound and Orca Inlet.

The top 16 high school teams also receive funds for their schools’ science departments.