By SCOTT WEISSER
---- — GOSHEN — They weren’t old enough to legally drive. That didn’t stop them from having cars.
Not that they were going to drive home, or worry about buying gas. Nonetheless, four Northridge Middle School students were focused on vehicular performance Saturday afternoon. The vehicles? Small enough to carry.
Northridge was one of several schools represented during Regional Science Olympiad competition at Goshen College. And in the GC Union Building, two duos of NMS sixth-graders — Adam Simons and Nick Taylor making up one and Andrew Gerber and Nick Gilley the other — were ready to roll.
Laura Simons, Northridge High School chemistry teacher and primary middle school Science Olympiad coach, said the students had been working on their vehicles on and off for about two months.
“They had to design and create a vehicle that would run off of some elastic power, so like a rubber band or flexible pole or something along those lines,” she said of the task. For the GC event, the vehicle traveling closest to 8 meters and in a centered route would prevail.
“We’ve actually had several designs, and just this week we had to start over,” sixth-grader Adam Simons said of his car. That said, the device was ready come the Olympiad.
The Gerber/Gilley duo was optimistic about its vehicle.
“It’s been running well,” according to Gerber. “Really good, actually,” said Gilley.
“Wheeled Vehicle” was only one of nearly 40 science-related events staged at various GC locations Saturday. The others included “Bungee Drop,” “Chemistry Lab,” “Elastic Launched Glider,” “Helicopters,” “Rotor Egg Drop” and “Shock Value.”
At the end of the competition, the Northridge Middle School “Green” team placed well enough to advance to the state tournament, scheduled for March 22 at the Indiana University Bloomington campus. Advancing Green teamers include Emma Beebe, Nicholas Garcia, Becker Ardhji, Simon Grevengoed, Nick Taylor, Anthony Eshleman, Adam Simons, Sean Gilley, Savannah Comstock, Alex Miller, Rachael Haston, Trey Santiago, Carlee Schroeder, Aubrey Boutwell and Adam Maas.
Simons said Northridge students competed in 23 events Saturday. She pointed out that a Northridge High School team also qualified for state during recent regional Olympiad competition at Indiana University Purdue University — Fort Wayne.
At Saturday’s GC event, teams in Division B (grades six to nine) were set to come from Bethany Christian Schools, Boston Middle school, LaSalle Intermediate Academy, Manchester Junior/Senior High School, Northridge Middle School and Southwood Junior/Senior High School. Teams in Division C (grades nine to 12) were due to arrive from Bethany Christian Schools, Columbia City High School, Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities, John Adams High School, La Lumiere School, LaPorte High School, Manchester Junior/Senior High School, Mishawaka High School and Riley High School.