Skip Navigation

College News

CLC announces winners of 2018 high school Academic Challenge

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Feb 16, 2018

More than 130 students from seven Lake County high schools competed in the annual Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering Academic Challenge competition Feb. 3 at the College of Lake County. The regional competition pitted the area’s brightest students against each other in tests covering seven academic areas, including English, math and the sciences.

The first and second place finishers in each category, and the top two teams from each division, will advance to the North Chicago Sectional Competition March 6 at Vernon Hills High School.

Medals went to the individual on each of the seven teams with the highest total standardized score for their team. Medalists were: Ryan Medich (Deerfield High School); Hannah Oelschlager (Grayslake Central High School); Chad Oliver (Lake Zurich High School); Albert Su (Libertyville High School); Alexa Pomerantz (Vernon Hills High School); Nate Kantorski (Wauconda High School); and Katie DeReus (Westlake Christian Academy).

Participating high schools were divided into three divisions based on enrollment: Division 300 (fewer than 300 students); Division 1,500 (fewer than 1,500 students); and Unlimited (1,500 students or greater). Westlake Christian Academy competed alone in Division 300 and will advance to the sectional competition. In Division 1,500, the top three teams were, in order, Vernon Hills, Grayslake Central and Wauconda. In the Unlimited division, the top finisher was Deerfield, followed by Libertyville and Lake Zurich.

Unlimited Division Individual Results

Biology winners were John Chen (Lake Zurich) and Chad Oliver (Lake Zurich), tied for first; Jake Kraemer (Deerfield) and Suraj Rajendran (Libertyville) tied for second; and Kyla Guru (Deerfield) third.

Chemistry winners were Albert Su (Libertyville) first and Chad Oliver (Lake Zurich) and Suraj Rajendran (Libertyville) tied for second. A six-way tie for third place included Nora Awad (Deerfield), Ben John (Libertyville), Will Madsen (Lake Zurich), Ryan Medich (Deerfield), Luke Moore (Lake Zurich) and Joshua Tang (Deerfield).     

Computer Science winners were Adam Aaronson (Deerfield) first; Sam Liokumovich (Deerfield) second; and Brady Williams (Lake Zurich) third.  

Engineering Graphics winners were Thomas Yun (Lake Zurich) first; Carter Nelson (Deerfield) second; and Alex Cooper (Lake Zurich) and Jake Kraemer (Deerfield) tied for third.

English winners were Sophie Henry (Deerfield) first; Albert Su (Libertyville) second; and Mitch Gifford (Libertyville) and Anagha Rajagopalan (Lake Zurich) tied for third.

Math winners were Amy Deng (Deerfield) first; Aaron Chen (Libertyville), Mitch Gifford (Libertyville), Will Madsen (Lake Zurich) and Xander Pero (Deerfield) tied for second; and Adam Aaronson (Deerfield) third. 

Physics winners were Jared Edwards (Libertyville) and Ben John (Libertyville) tied for first; Amy Deng (Deerfield) and Tess von Rueden (Libertyville) tied for second; and Lauren Gadek (Libertyville), Charlie Stahnke (Libertyville) and Tyler Wang (Libertyville) tied for third.

Division 1,500 Individual Results   

Biology winners were Samantha Bianco (Wauconda) first; Nathan Moretta (Wauconda) second; and Elijah Huang (Vernon Hills) third.

Chemistry winners were Nate Kantorski (Wauconda) first; Zachary Qian (Vernon Hills) second; and Hannah Oelschlager (Grayslake Central) and Alexa Pomerantz (Vernon Hills) tied for third.

Computer Science winners were Teresa Dong (Vernon Hills) first; Neel Choudhary (Vernon Hills) second; and Gurnek Mokha (Wauconda) third.

Engineering winners were Jake Ryan (Grayslake Central) first; Andrew Cornelio (Grayslake Central) second; and Salem Tesfu (Grayslake Central) third.  

English winners were Samantha Bianco (Wauconda) first; Felicia E (Vernon Hills), Cecelia Gao (Vernon Hills) and Lily Meng (Vernon Hills) tied for second; and Alexa Pomerantz (Vernon Hills) third.

Math winners were Nate Kantorski (Wauconda) first; Dylan Ott (Grayslake Central) second; and Albert Kong (Vernon Hills) and Jeffrey Zhang (Vernon Hills) tied for third.

Physics winners were Dylan Ott (Grayslake Central) first; Kevin Yoon (Vernon Hills) second; and Albert Kong (Vernon Hills) third.

Division 300 Individual Results

Westlake Christian Academy was the only school participating in this category.

Biology winners were Adrian Salvador first; Ashley Melcher second and Hope Perry third.

Chemistry winners were Grace Boundy first; and Rylee Brtek second.

Computer Science were Carter Wietzel first; and Hope Perry second.

English winners were Katie DeReus first; and Carter Weitzel second.

Math winners were Katie DeReus first; Ahsley Melcher second; and Adrian Salvador third.

Physics winners were Grace Boundy first; and Rylee Brtek second. 

Teams were coached by Joshua Ravenscraft and Sarah Stoub (Vernon Hills), Dave Schmitz (Wauconda), Martin Esgar (Deerfield), Debra Hofer (Grayslake Central Central), Anne Hopkins (Lake Zurich), Peter Dawson (Libertyville), and Dave Raabe (Westlake Christian Academy).

Three CLC professors, Jan Edwards and Rob Twardock (engineering transfer) and Dr. Ana Mazilu (physics) served as coordinators for the competition, which is held annually at CLC. “Each year, we consistently get comments from team coaches that CLC’s regional competition is one of the best academic competitions they attend,” Twardock said.

The Academic Challenge is sponsored by CLC’s engineering and physics departments, as well as the University of Illinois’ College of Engineering’s Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering program.

High school academic teams interested in participating in next year’s competition, to be held in February 2019 at CLC, should contact Twardock at (847) 543-2903 or To learn more about the competition, visit the WYSE website at For more information on CLC’s engineering program, visit