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Middlesex Odyssey team headed to World Finals

Photo by Contributed Photo, Contributed

The Middlesex Middle Schol "Stackable Structures" team from Darien is advanced to the World Finals of the Odyssey of the Mind program in May. From left, coach Clem Garcia, Tala Garcia, Jack Massey, coach Arpita Muchhal, Aria Muchhal, Pierce Leclerc, Richard Huang, coach Real Leclerc and Isabelle Leclerc.

Middlesex Middle School's Stackable Structures team placed second in the 33rd annual state Odyssey of the Mind tournament.

More than 150 teams from around the state competed.

The Middlesex team now advances to the World Finals at Iowa State University in May.

The team designed and built a structure of only balsa wood and glue, weighing 17.7 grams, that was able to hold 137 pounds of free weights placed by sixth-graders Aria Muchhal and Richard Huang. Simultaneously, sixth-graders Tala Garcia, Pierce Leclerc and Jack Massey and seventh-grader Isabelle Leclerc performed a skit about saving the planet. Team coaches Real Leclerc, Arpita Muchhal and Clem Garcia will accompany the students to the World Finals.

Middlesex also competed in the long-term problem "Driver's Test" with sixth-graders Monisha Akula, Alex Gu, Sophie Howard, Alex Hu and Evan Tong, eighth-grader Maddie Dwyer and seventh-grader Justin Mossa. They were coached by Rudy Mossa and Lakshmi Akula. The team designed, built and drove a vehicle that had to travel around a course with one of the students trying to pass his driver's test. Their comical skit involved space travel with duct tape-adorned costumes. The team placed ninth.

The "Not-So-Haunted House" long-term problem involved sixth-graders Lauren Goll, John McGovern and John Phipps, eighth-grader Mary McGovern and seventh-grader Aldo Stefanoni creating and presenting an original performance that included pop-up special effects. They were coached by Fran McGovern and Carmen Phipps. The team created some of the special effects with the Darien Library's 3D printer. The team placed 14th.

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