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Farmingdale 'Dream Team' makes National Science Bowl

Farmingdale High School students Zachary Rousselle, left, Joshua

Farmingdale High School students Zachary Rousselle, left, Joshua Kantharia, Kevin Chiu, and Evan Cavallo compete in the Long Island Science Bowl. (Jan. 30, 2010) Credit: Handout

They call themselves, "The Dreamier Team."

A Farmingdale High School team of whiz kids went into the Long Island Science Bowl on Saturday night at Brookhaven National Laboratory as decided underdogs, but they left at the top of the pack.

Farmingdale took first place in the Science Bowl, its first victory in the 20-year-old competition since its team was founded just three years ago. It defeated Half Hollow Hills High School West, which had placed second last year, and Ward Melville High School, which had won five of the last six Science Bowls.

Farmingdale, which called itself the "Dream Team" in 2009 when it lost in the regional tournament, now has its sights set on becoming the nation's top team in the National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C., starting April 29, said coach Peter Macchia. Maybe then, call them the "Dreamiest Team."

"It really has unfolded like a fairy-tale story," Macchia said. "Everything was almost perfect. It was almost like a Disney movie."

Saturday's tournament featured 25 teams from across the Island. They faced off in round-robin tournaments, earning points by buzzing in first to answer a question and then answering correctly.

It came down to questions like "If (x-2) squared is equal to 8 (Y+3), what is the vertex, focus and directrix?"

Farmingdale team captain Kevin Chiu, 17, a senior, buzzed in right away.

No calculators were allowed. "It's just a pen, a pad and your mind," Chiu said.

Chiu was Farmingdale's math specialist; his teammates, also seniors, focused on their strengths: Joshua Kantharia, biology; Zachary Rousselle, chemistry; and Evan Cavallo, physics and astronomy.

Chiu credited study sessions with Macchia for the victory. He quizzed the players for hours on his own time.

"We figured we were all seniors and this was our last chance to do it," Chiu said. "It came down to all the hard work we did and some luck."

MORE: 9 Long Islanders are finalists in the Intel science competition

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