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SCCA Odyssey of the Mind sending two teams to state competition
Summit Charter Collegiate Academy is sending its two Odyssey of the Mind teams to the state competition. The two teams qualified for state after cinching first-place wins against teams from Tulare, Kings, Kern, Fresno, Madera, and Inyo counties during Odyssey of the Mind South Central Regionals held Feb. 16 in Hanford.
“They are a very dedicated group — one of my most serious groups as far as getting the job done,” said Hoss McNutt, instructor and coach of the teams. “We started with five teams this year, and ended with two. Both are going to State.”
The state competition is expected to attract 300 kindergarten through college teams — and an approximate 8,000 people — to Heritage High School in Brentwood, south of San Francisco.
“Most of these kids didn’t start until seventh grade but they are going up against high school seniors who have been working together since first grade. Kindergarten does not compete,” McNutt said. “I think they are going to very well.”
Each team will have eight minutes to set up its project and present its skit, problem and solution, said Brendan Scott, a ninth grader on one of the teams.
Scott’s team also includes Oscar Baez, Frankie Martinez, Logan Cassidy, Marco Gonzalez, Max Valdez and Mikayla Giannetto, the only female on the team.
The team developed a skit to go along with their story.
With some of them dressed as animals, the team sets out to look for a magic tree, finds a map and uses the e-mail machine and spam filter, to get the word out, Cassidy said.
“They were all given the same set of rules and a problem,” McNutt said.
The team’s presented problem is “The E-mail Must go Through.”
With several types of small balls representing e-mails, the balls move through a system filled with gadgets to get to its final destination. The team built a spam filter system with fans that separate the lighter Wiffle balls from the heavier golf balls into separate channels — one for e-mail and one for spam mail. A third channel occasionally pops in to purposely lose the ‘e-mails’ into a mysterious folder.
The second team — consisting of Nick Garcia, Christian Scow, Michael Brenzel, Brandon Myers, Drake Ryland, Faith Ryland and Zachary Burns — must transport a small mysterious and mythological creature, nine-piece squid, from point A to point B using three modes of transportation. For their project, the developed a sail boat, a three wheeled dragon and a pull-and-release vehicle.
Working since September, including two evenings a week, weekends and all Christmas break, the teams will continue to work on polishing their projects and presentations.
Traveling to the state competition is not new for McNutt, who has taught at the Burton School District for 12 years, and coached Odyssey teams at Lindsay High School, Strathmore High School and Porterville College prior to coaching at Burton Middle School and Summit Charter Collegiate Academy.
“In the last 28 years, I’ve taken a team to State finals 27 times,” he said.
McNutt has also traveled to the World competition with teams three times — once upon invitation for a presentation, and twice with state championship teams.
The teams leave Thursday and will spend two days touring San Francisco before presenting on Saturday and attending the awards ceremony on Sunday.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.com