The Hamilton High School team and the Corvallis Middle School team were the winners at the 35th annual Montana Science Olympiad at Montana State University November 26. The two teams were part of 1,400 students who competed in various STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) events. The teams are now eligible to enter the national competition at Raleigh, North Carolina, May 15-16.

This year's Olympiad was the largest state STEM competition so far, according to Suzi Taylor, director of the Science Math Resource center at MSU. She said, "These are kids who have self-selected to do really rigorous science and engineering work." A news release detailed a Hamilton High School entry on a building competition using gravity to propel a vehicle down a ramp and then move to a specified spot on the floor. Sam Duerr's car did a little turn at the end of the run, stopping within a foot of the target. The Hamilton High sophomore said that wasn't planned. The wing nut brakes on the right side of the rear axle locked up, but Hamilton won the competition. Duerr said, "I'm still pretty proud of how it did." The students from 63 middle schools and 57 high schools competed Tuesday morning and then toured MSU labs and studios in the afternoon.