By BOB COUPLAND
YOUNGSTOWN - Students from 17 area school districts used their physics skills and knowledge to compete in various challenges at the 35th annual Physics Olympics held at Youngstown State University.
Cindy Smotzer, event coordinator and YSU physics professor, said the students compete in a variety of categories and then take part in a quiz show, which is the final event.
"They apply what they have learned in their physics classes when competing," she said.
Categories include pingpong ball launches at a target, mousetraps, boats with propellors, egg drop, and bridge breaking to see how much weight can be supported. The juniors and seniors can compete in as many of the 12 categories they wish.
YSU professors and students served as judges.
Lordstown High School senior Lindsay Tura said the events were a lot of fun.
Lakeview High School seniors Megan Goedeker and Natalie Super competed in the mousetrap event, in which judges measured the distance the traps traveled along the floor.
"We did this for a lab at school. We received a class grade," Goedeker said.
"This is the farthest distance ever for our school," Super said.
Trumbull Career and Technical Center instructor Terry Fleming said students in her engineering technology prep class and Alaine Frankland's science classes worked together. Fleming said the students have been competing for the past seven years.
Joe Lough, a senior at TCTC, said time was given in class to prepare for the physics event.
"Each person did a different event. I did a catapult for launching pingpongs balls," he said.
Mineral Ridge High School student Pierce Rassega said 19 students from the high school took part with teacher Scott Yeagly.
"Overall, we did pretty well. We placed second in egg drop and sixth place in the pingpong launch," Rassega said.
Yeagly said students received a grade on their project in class.