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NMMI cadets compete in regional chemistry event

Seven New Mexico Military Institute high school cadets display their team and individual trophies and medals following the March 10 Southern New Mexico-West Texas Chemistry Olympiad Competition. From left are team coach and chemistry faculty member Col. Elena Viltchinskaia, Ph.D., Tristan Edwards, Dai Zerong, Maximino Robles, Abigail Valadez, Caleb Newman, Gunnar Schwab, Colton Claypool and team coach Lt. Col. John Surgett. (Submitted Photo)

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Several New Mexico Military Institute cadets took home medals and two became eligible to move on to nationals following a regional chemistry competition.

A team of seven cadets and two coaches participated in the Southern New Mexico-West Texas Chemistry Competition held Saturday on the New Mexico State University campus in Las Cruces. They were among 50 students and eight schools to participate in the event, sponsored by the Rio Grande Section of the American Chemical Society.

The four events at the Olympiad were an hour-long written exam, a forensics team experiment, a phosphoric acid titration experiment and a qualitative analysis team experiment.

Two cadets, Gunnar Schwab and Abigail Valadez, did well enough in all four events to move onto the U.S. National Chemical Olympiad exams, said one of the team coaches and NMMI chemistry faculty member, Dr. Elena Viltchinskaia, but the students have chosen not to participate in further competition this year due to other obligations.

Medal winners included Colton Claypool, who placed first in the written exam, and Gunnar Schwab and Caleb Newman, who won first in the forensics team experiment. Maximino Robles and Dai Zerong scored third in the qualitative analysis team experiment.

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