Envirothon team advances to nationals

Meredith Comas

For the first time in Manhattan High history, an hour and eight minutes away from home at Camp Wood, the MHS Envirothon Team won first place at the state Envirothon competition, qualifying them for nationals in July.

“I think [winning] was an important goal for all of us especially considering we are still a relatively new team,” junior Allen Zhang said. “I felt really proud of how far our team has come.”

Manhattan High has competed in the annual competition — featuring tests in five natural resource areas: Forestry, Soils, Aquatics, Wildlife and a Current Issue — since 2017, despite the event being in its 28th year.

This year’s state win marks a turning point for the team — made up of Zhang and fellow juniors Dominykas Metlevski, Alex Andresen, Brain Dudley, as well as senior Carson Gido — as most of the members have been competing to get past state and into nationals since their freshman year. Since the Manhattan team’s founding, they have only placed short of first, coming in at third in previous years.

“We’re the first team from Manhattan to [place first],” Andresen said. “It means a lot considering most of us are [upperclassmen].”  

According to Andresen, the team being made up of solely upperclassman is becoming an increasing concern as, by next year, most of the team will be in the graduating class.

“A lot of people don’t know [Envirothon Team] exists,” Andresen said. “Most schools have a team for every age group, but here we only have one. We need younger people to join before we’re gone.”

Closer in the future for the team, however, is the North American Envirothon competition, which hosts teams from around the United States and Canadian provinces. The team is still in discussions as to whether or not they will be able to attend due to individual availability, but hope to be able to join fellow state victors in North Carolina on July 28.

“I am really proud of the team,” Noah Busch, team sponsor, said. “They have worked hard the past three years to get to this point.”