For Troy High School, the "drought" might be over.
The school, based in Fullerton, California, won the National Science Bowl regional competition for the second year in a row. The competition was held on Sunday, Jan. 28 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. It was the 25th year that JPL has hosted the event.
Before last year, Troy High School went a long stretch without any wins.
There was a drought from about 2001 to 2015, but team captain Mike Bao said, "Now we're coming back. We hope we're starting a new age for the school."
The team members now have a chance to test their science knowledge on a bigger stage: the National Science Bowl finals take place from April 27 to May 1 in Washington. The annual event is sponsored by the Department of Energy. High school students participate in an all-day quiz tournament, answering questions about everything from biology, geology and astrophysics to math.
Just a few of the topics participants had to know about: nuclear reactor components, the structure of a kidney, the properties of entropy and the energy production of a star. Teams were under time pressure. They could sometimes interrupt the question in order to answer -- but if they got it wrong, they could end up giving points to the other team.
So how do you prepare for a competition like this?
Lots of studying after class, Bao said. Like many of the teams, Troy High School's participants met during lunch, after school or on weekends, reviewing sample questions online.
But teambuilding was key as well, Bao said. You could see it during breaks, when his teammates would give each other high-fives and pat each other on the arm when they got a question right.
"It's not just getting questions right, but the overall morale of the team and synergy," Bao said. "Our coach has helped a lot with what we're doing right and what we're doing wrong."
University High School of Irvine, California, came in second place. Arcadia High School came in third, while Crescenta Valley High School took the "best sportsmanship award" for the second year in a row.
The National Science Bowl is designed to inspire students to pursue careers in science or math. In its 26-year history, more than 250,000 students have participated in the science bowl.
Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages JPL for NASA.
For information about the National Science Bowl, visit