5 Frosh Advance to OM World Championships

Amanda Young, Staff Writer

Freshmen Vishal Lashkari, Sebastian Fojut, Ryan Erickson-King, Jack Erickson-King, and Alexander Clare, attended the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals at Iowa State University from May 23-26.

“Odyssey of the Mind is basically a competition in which you have to solve a problem in 8 minutes, and there are 5 problems to choose from. They all involve logic and reasoning, and you have about 5 months to complete it. You have to either construct something or create something that will help you meet a certain criteria,” explained Fojut.

The Odyssey of the Mind finals was a multi-day event that included an opening ceremony, both a planned and spontaneous competition round, and a closing ceremony.

According to Ryan Erickson-King, the problems are usually part of the same genre. “1 problem involves a car moving, the 2nd is technical, so you have to build something that will complete actions; the 3rd one is usually about history- it’s not as much building things as more of acting; there’s 1 that you have to build a structure that will support a certain amount of weight but you have to fit a skit around it,” he said.

In order to compete in the World Finals, the team had to advance through both regional and state competitions as well. The team, which is a member of the San Francisco Bay region, took 1st place at the Regional competition before winning the State meet.

“At Worlds [last year] we got 19 out of 70, I think. This year, we got 13 out of about 30 or 40. This year, the problem was super unpopular,” Fojut said.

The team take pride in their unique approach to problem solving. “Most teams use electronics but we tend to stay away from electricity in general. It’ just fun to work without electricity,” Ryan Erickson-King said.

“We try to construct something like a Rube Goldberg machine- all mechanical,” added Fojut. “I just really enjoy the feeling of constructing something and watching it serve a purpose. It’s really cool.”

“It’s pretty fun to see so many people coming [to the competition.] There are over 800 teams total at World, so you meet a lot of different people. We also had a buddy team that was from Singapore, so we met them, and their team got 3rd place in the world,” Lashkari said.

“It’s also just fun to work together as a team and to break your [project] when you’re done,” added Ryan Erickson-King.