Is the team going?
M-W Middle School team’s second place finish at Odyssey of the Mind state competition qualifies it for world championships

Photo provided Anushree Buragohain, Jamie Calub, Colin Davidson, James Dawson, Shreya Girish, Khushi Girish, Isabelle Varghese with Coach Joanne McInerney, celebrate their second-place finish at SUNY Binghamton this past weekend.

CENTRAL VALLEY — An Odyssey of the Mind team from Monroe-Woodbury Middle School earned second place honors at this past weekend's OM State Competition at SUNY Binghamton, making it eligible to compete in 39th annual OM world finals at Iowa State University at the end of May.
Team McInerney placed second out of 19 teams in Division II for its response to the problem, “A Stellar Hangout.” Team members are Anushree Buragohain, Jamie Calub, Colin Davidson, James Dawson, Khushi Girish, Shreya Girish and Isabelle Varghese with Coach Joanne McInerney. The team earned 330.35 points out of a possible 350.
Science fiction hangoutThe premise for this problem starts in the outreaches of the universe, where there is an “intergalactic hangout” featuring all sorts of creatures from different worlds who stop there to eat, refuel and relax. The team created a humorous performance centered on this science fiction hangout that included original creatures, foods, and a search for space treasure. There was also a worker character, entertainment and a futuristic map at the hangout.
Monroe-Woodbury teams that place first in their respective division or win the Ranatra Fusca Award - acknowledging extreme creativity - have attended world finals, the only international competition the district participates in annually.
What's differentTeams that place second are also invited by the OM organization to participate in world finals. In recent years, the district’s second place teams have attended when first place teams participated.
But, those second teams were responsible for raising the funds to attend because the district’s longstanding policy is to fund participation for only first-place teams.
This is the first time in the district’s history that only a second-place team has qualified for world finals.
Ironing out details“We are very proud of the performance of both our teams that competed in the state tournament,” wrote Dr. Eric Hassler, the district’s assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, wrote in an email to The Photo News. “To have two teams compete and have both teams finish in the Top 5 out of 19 teams in their respective problems is a very impressive accomplishment. The second-place team has also earned the right to compete in the world competition next month. The details of this are still being ironed out, as you are correct that this is the first time we have had only a second place team qualify. We will have more information in the near future.”
Team Hutter, which placed fifth out of 19 teams in Division II for “Classics ... Mockumentary! Seriously?” has as its members: Sophie Baer, Leanne Fernandes, Emma Shae Filonow, Avlinn Jaskowski, Mark Lee, Amara Leitner and Julia McHugh with Coach Jessica Hutter. The group earned 314.51 out of 350 points for its presentation.
- Nancy Kriz