Naperville North science team advances to national competition

Whether it's a question about biology, chemistry or physics, Naperville North High School's science team is ready.

So ready that the Huskies recently won a regional competition to earn them an all-expense-paid trip to the National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C.

Coach Kevin Farrell, a science teacher at Naperville North, guided the group to its seventh straight state championship as the team rallied dramatically. After losing to Stevenson High School in the double-elimination competition, the Huskies came back to beat Fremd and then Stevenson two times.

The National Science Bowl, scheduled for April 27 to May 1, will host 64 middle and high school teams in Washington, D.C., for the first time since the pandemic began. The 2021 Naperville North team, which finished second in the nation during a virtual competition, also will be honored that week.

“It was huge,” Farrell said of the 2021 performance. “It was the first time that an Illinois team has ever finished in the top 10.”

This year's team members were celebrated by the Naperville Unit District 203 board at this week's meeting. The lineup of Claire Chen, Yikai Liu, Dingjia Shen, Andrew Tang and Jeffrey Tong topped 16 other teams participating in the regional competition.

“They will practice every night if you let them,” Farrell said. “They continually pore through textbooks and make up questions and just do everything they possibly can to get ready for this competition. These kids are amazing.”

The U.S. Department of Energy created the National Science Bowl in 1991 to give students across the country the chance to compete in a fast-paced, question-and-answer format. In addition to biology, chemistry and physics, the competition also includes math and Earth and space sciences.

The top two middle and high school teams will win $5,000 for their school's science departments. Other schools in the top 16 receive $1,000.

“I've been part of this for 20 years, and it's been such a blessing for me to meet so many amazing people from across the United States,” Farrell said. “This is a community that's been built up.”

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