to have highly satisfied customers...
to treat all individuals with respect...
to provide an environment that supports
innovation and risk...

ICS Wows Judges at Odyssey of the Mind Competition

By Andrea Dressig, Wellsville Spectator Reporter

WELLSVILLE — Teamwork, dedication, long hours of practice, and missing household items. Odyssey of the Mind isn’t a sport in the classic sense of the word, but it requires the same hard work from students.

Over the weekend, the Odyssey of the Mind Regional competition took place at Wellsville Secondary School. Thirty-one teams from neighboring school districts came to show off their creativity and problem-solving skills. All of Wellsville’s teams placed, and all but one will be going into the next round of competition.

OM Region 19 director Jean Oliverio hosted the awards ceremony. Special thanks went out to Wellsville school district for hosting, janitors, ushers, judges, the near 70 volunteers it takes to run the event, and of course OM coaches and families too.

“Thanks to the coaches for inspiring, encouraging, and motivating your teams through a season that lasts longer than most sports seasons,” said Oliverio. “Thanks to the families for supporting your kids, for driving your kids to and from practice at crazy hours, for the snacks and pizza deliveries. Thanks for being understanding when your household items disappear to be upcycled into props.”

Special creativity and teamwork awards were then given out before announcing problem and division winners.

Immaculate Conception School blew judges away with their Automatic Wedgie Dispenser 2000, a hydraulic press robotic, controlled by pressing different colored liquids through syringes for movement.

The winning team from Immaculate Conception School.

ICS took first-place and was also awarded the Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award, for demonstrating outstanding creativity. The Ranatra Fusca has not been awarded in Region 19 for 16 years. The team is coached by Kelly and Steve Smith and Megan Freeman, also in awe of the creativity of their team.

“This team showed exceptional creativity, design, and purpose of props,” said Oliverio. “Creating the arm showed the team’s desire to take risks, as it was not a required element of the problem. They clearly thought about how it could be impactful in their performance. The feuding inventors combined their two seemingly failed inventions to reignite old friends and solve the world’s trash problem.

“They understood that something impressive but without purpose was futile and that by combining great storying as well would give their performance the wow-factor. And it did.”

An OMER’s award was also given out to a Wellsville individual. Mackenzie Weinhauer was nominated for her outstanding dedication to her team while also being sick.

“This OMER exemplifies the spirit and philosophy of Odyssey of the Mind,” said Oliverio. “She came to practice and jumped right in to help fix the props that fell apart two days before competition. When most students would have given up to being sick, she persevered and refused to let her team down.”

OMER Award Winner Mackenzie Weinhauer.

Weinhauer’s team, coached by Jamie Bump and Brandie Dickerson, took first-place in their problem and will also be moving on to States competition.

Mackenzie Weinhauer’s team from Wellsville Middle School.

Other first-place teams are coached by Jill Short, Stephanie Viglietta and Hannah Sturm, and Kelly Stout. Placing second was Marie Vetter and Shelley Chaffee’s team, up against the tough competition of ICS.

“Each and every team here today prepared by working hard, researching, building, problem-solving, and working creatively as a team,” said Oliverio. “Congratulations to all of you.”

States competition is next for those winning teams, taking place on March 23 at Binghamton University. Then perhaps they’ll be on to the 2019 Worlds competition at Michigan State University, May 22-25.