Davis Drive Students Triumph at National Science Bowl

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The Davis Drive Middle School team. Photo courtesy of Davis Drive Middle School.



A team of students from Davis Drive Middle School triumphed at the Carolinas regional competition held in March for the 2024 National Science Bowl. 

Utilizing a quiz bowl format, the competition requires teams to quickly buzz in and answer questions or solve technical problems in a variety of scientific disciplines, including physics, space, chemistry and math. 

Ajay Sawant came in as a veteran, having reached the top 16 at a previous school last year, but he and his teammates had to adapt to the new virtual format for regionals. “Last year it was a nail-biting buzzer race against other teams. 

But at the virtual competition it was about taking your time to answer accurately—teamwork is more important than being the fastest!” says Sawant. 

Head coach Sashank Ganapathiraju has been through this before, leading a Davis Drive team to victory in the regionals for the past six years. But Sashank’s history with the competition goes back even further to when his mother, Kowsalya Ganapathiraju, coached his Davis Drive team, starting when he was in seventh grade. Sashank’s experience and guidance has led to a winning formula of collaboration, knowledge and hard work.

The regional win advanced the team to the National Finals held in Washington, D.C. April 25–29, where they competed against 47 other regional winners. Sawant, along with his fellow teammates Sohum Vajaria, Tiger Zhao, Kevin Zhang and Neveel Chheda, took first in their round-robin group, advancing to the double-elimination stage, making it to the semifinals and finishing third overall. 

Their top finish granted $1,000 for the Davis Drive science department, which is sure to assist in creating future STEM enthusiasts and competitors.

Check out more from around the Western Wake at 5westmag.com

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