Punchers stand tall in TEAMS competition


BIG PINEY – Big Piney High School swept the competition at the annual State TEAMS competition on March 1, with the Punchers capturing gold, silver and bronze for a third year in a row.

BPHS received the results in late April, said Michelle Hymas, Sublette County School District No. 9 technology coordinator and TEAMS advisor. The event was held virtually again.

TEAMS is an acronym for Tests of Engineering, Aptitude, Mathematics and Science, and is part of a nationwide initiative by the Technology Student Association to expose middle and high school students to real-world experiences in science, math, engineering and technology. The competitions allow young people to explore careers in the field and address the need for a “STEM-literate” workforce, according to the Technology Student Association’s website.

Seniors Anton Vickrey and Zoe Long and juniors Brandon Jones and Rayne Wheeler secured first place in the 11th- and 12th-grade division. Senior Brayden Hymas and juniors Thomas Howard, James McCormick and Colby Jenks took silver in that division.

Sophomores Jackie Meador and Julia Hymas and freshmen Caden Clifford and Emma York placed third in the 9th- and 10th-grade classification.

The theme this year was engineering in entertainment, said Michelle Hymas. Students wrote and submitted a long-form essay in February.

On competition day, each team was required to take a rigorous multiple-choice exam, making it a challenge to be prepared for the design portion of the competition.

“Our brains were already fried from the test,” said Long. “Then we still had to team up and put all our brainpower together to make a roller coaster.”

Each squad received a packet containing the project assignment and a list of materials that may be used, said Hymas.

“This year, our design project was to build a roller coaster of some kind able to keep a marble in constant motion for 30 seconds, and it had to include two loops of any form,” said Vickrey. “We had 10 minutes to design and about two hours to build.”

Students used basic household items and supplies found in an average school supply closet to build the roller coaster, Hymas said.

“The most high-tech parts were paper clips,” she added.

Time was of the essence and making sure the group was “all on the same page for the project” was a challenge, said Vickrey.

The team’s roller coaster performed well on test runs but struggled to move the marble in the final test, said Long.

Despite the obstacles, Hymas was pleased with each team’s dedication and effort.

“I’m really proud of the kids for taking first, second and third this year,” said Hymas. “I couldn’t ask for a better group of kids. They are amazing and went above and beyond expectations.”

Long thanked Hymas for providing the TEAMS students with guidance.

“Honestly, I feel a huge shoutout goes to Michelle Hymas for starting this four years ago and convincing us to join,” Long said. “It has been a great last four years and I’m going to miss it.”

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