Absarokee named “Top Small School” at Science Olympiad

Mikaela Koski
Thursday, November 29, 2018
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Photo courtesy of Catherine Frazer

Callen Gunderson (left) and Shayla Russell show off the first place medals they earned at MTSO with their project “Fossils.”

Article Image Alt Text

Photo courtesy of Catherine Frazer

The Absarokee Junior High MTSO crew, from left to right: Dillon Ferster, William Andonian, Claire Hatch, Allison Howes, Shayla Russell, Alissa Martinez, Nila Dawson, Isaac Richardson, Callen Gunderson, Logan Young, Tandy Planichek and Elias Richardson. Not pictured: Adree Langley and Kayci Holybee.

For the third year in a row, Absarokee Junior High’s team earned the Top Small School Award at the Montana Science Olympiad (MTSO).

This year marks the fourth year Absarokee achieved the Top Small School Award in the last five years.

Overall, the Huskies finished 10th out of 60 junior high teams this year.  Absarokee also sent a high school team to the MTSO; the group finished 30th out of 57 teams.

The 2018 MTSO was held last week in Bozeman, with more than 110 junior high and high school teams from across the state competing.


Several Huskies also won individual awards for their projects at the MTSO.

Leading the group with a first place finish were Callen Gunderson and Shayla Russell with their project titled “Fossils.”

Kaiya Holmquist and Tymber Jensen earned fourth place for their project “Write it, do it.”  A sixth place award was given for the project titled “Disease Detectives” created by Claire Hatch and Allison Howes.

Two Absarokee projects earned seventh place: Dillon Ferster and Isaac Richardson’s project “Battery Buggy” and Maggie Howes and Haley Richardson’s project “Dynamic Planet – Glaciers.”

Rachel Braswell finished in eighth place with her project titled “Fossils,” while Logan Young and Alissa Martinez got 10th with “Boomilever.”

An 11th place finish was recorded by the team of Christopher Pasecznyk and Brent Kelley with their project “Geologic Mapping.”

William Andonian and Kayci Holybee’s project “Meteorology” earned 14th place, and “Heredity,” the project of Shayla Russell and Isaac Richardson, finished in 15th place.

The following students also competed at the MTSO on behalf of Absarokee: Adree Langley, Elias Richardson, Tandy Planichek, Nila Dawson, Peyton Langley, Dawson Lester, and Kennedy Ekwortzel.

Science teachers Catherine Frazer and Chris Gunderson coached Absarokee’s MTSO teams.


This year marked the 34th annual MTSO competition hosted by Montana State University’s Science Math Resource Center.

“The Montana Science Olympiad is devoted to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education by both students and teachers,” according to the MSU website.