Polk Middle duo glides to a title at Science Olympiad

Polk County Middle School has a pair of new state champions to celebrate.

Students Raegen Jackson and Andy Ballentine took top honors Saturday in the Elastic Launched Glider event at the North Carolina Science Olympiad, held at North Carolina State University.

Jackson and Ballentine defeated 50 other entrants from across the state to win the competition.

Some 2,000 students descended on N.C. State on Friday and Saturday for the Olympiad, in which students compete in a variety of events in different science disciplines. Some events involve taking exams while others involve hands-on builds.

Polk County Middle School band director Matthew Putman also coached Jackson and Ballentine, helping them prepare for the contest.

Polk County Middle’s team, which placed second in the Asheville Regional earlier this year to qualify for the state tournament, finished 37th overall.

“I am just proud of the dedication these kids show to the competition,” said Polk County Middle science teacher Elisa Flynn, who serves as the team’s head coach. “And it’s a great day when kids are exposed to science, learning new things, and having fun while doing it.”