Triathilon provides a different kind of competition for students

Testing (Joseph Espiritu/LARIAT STAFF)

Joseph Espiritu/LARIAT STAFF

The brisk scratching of pencils and the hurried flipping of pages made it well known that although a ball was not in sight nor will a trophy be given as an award that a challenge was in place.
Entering its seventh year, the annual Saddleback College Academic Triathlon has been a venue for academic athletes to showcase their skills in the field of science.
“A number of years ago I got into thinking that we had all these sporting events that give our athletes accolades and that here in Science Math we should recognize students who are high-achievers in the sciences, chemistry and math divisions,” said Saddleback instructor and Academic Triathlon founder Jane Horlings.  “I then had professors write out questions to whom many contributed, put them all together, edited them and here we are.”
Fighting for scholarship and bragging rights, the attendees test their knowledge in biology, mathematics, physiology, chemistry, and physics along with other course-specific questions including an understanding of oceanic tide-charts.
“I remembered a lot of the terms from bio in high school, but I couldn’t re-call everything that was involved,” said Matt Young, entrepreneurial studies.  “I was familiar, but not familiar enough.  It was definitely tougher than I expected it to be.”
The test covers around 250 questions and takes most students a couple hours to complete.  There are no pre-requisites and all a student has to do is show-up during the posted time.
Money for the scholarship is awarded by the Associated Student Government and is enough to award winners up to $400 each.
“I just look at the spread and sometimes there is like five people up top and I just distribute the money among them,” said Horlings.  “Some years I have less money, but this year ASG gave us $2500 and if I can double the money then I can double the amount of winners.”
While the questions are not easy, they are far from impossible with some scoring in the high 70s percentage wise.
“The section I had trouble with were the binomials and some astrology questions,” said Phong Nguyen, biology.  “It was not that difficult, just that a lot of information was required.”


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