WRA News

JETS team is No. 1!
Posted 05/05/2011 04:40PM

Western Reserve Academy took top honors in the nation in the 2011 Junior Engineering Technical Society’s TEAMS competition.

It is the first time one of the school’s Grade 9/10 teams has captured the nation’s top ranking.

Sophomores Rebecca Cartellone, Bill Feng, Ning Kuo, Mitesh Mehta, Nick Sovich, Bob Wen, Ji Hoo Woo and Coco Wu were the No. 1 team in Division 2, finishing in a tie with St. Mark’s School of Texas.

“Our students are eager to maximize their skills in our science and math classes, and we have a supportive and flexible program that allows them to do that,” said Marie Fielder, longtime faculty advisor for the JETS competition. “The fact that we require our students to take more math and science courses really pays off in this competition.”

Of the eight members of the winning team, six will have completed Biology, Honors Physics and Honors Chemistry by the end of this academic year. In addition, two team members are currently taking Calculus BC, three are taking Honors Precalculus, two are in AP Physics and two are in Honors Algebra.

WRA’s team topped such schools as the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools; St. Alban’s School in Washington, D.C.; and the Linsly School in West Virginia in the 88-team Division 2.

“The competition has grown over the years so now we are competing against some high-powered schools that focus heavily on math and science,” Fielder said. “But once our students are in the competition, they are flexible and work to their strengths, passing off questions to each other to make the team better.”

Without a regular time in the daily schedule for practice after school, team members prepare for the competition on their own, relying on the science and math faculty to help them out when needed. This year, the students also turned to engineers Dr. Steven Weinzierl, father of Michael ’11, and Tony Dunne, an alumni parent of Matt ’82, Tommy ’83, David ’86 and Molly ’94, for guidance.

The WRA teams also benefit from the school’s emphasis on providing a well-rounded, liberal arts curriculum.

“Although we may have the same multiple-choice scores as the other top teams, our students perform so much better on the essay portion,” Fiedler said. “Because of their liberal arts education, they are very accomplished writers.”

In addition to the top squad, WRA’s second Grade 9/10 team finished sixth in Division 2. Team members are sophomores Megan Barsella, Samuel Kim, Thomas Kuo, MJ Kwon, Irene Li, Alex Rinker, Shivani Shah and Jing Zhu.

WRA’s four Grade 11/12 teams also had strong national showings in the 88-team Division 2.

The team of seniors Peter Cai, Oliver Curtiss, Caitlin Greenwood, Jack Hoover, Joshua Ly, Joseph Marmerstein, Chris Tonge and Jessie Wilson finished 13th in the nation.

The team of juniors Daniel Crowder, Ronan Keane, Monica Mehta, Eric Rauckhorst, Krista Sandercock, Peter Suwondo, Tracy Tien and Albert Wang finished 21st.

The team of juniors Eric Fang, Jonathan Farr, Emily Hallabrin, Brian Jung, Soo Bin Kwon, Jun Park, Paul Park and Ryan Suh finished 35th.

Finally, the team of senior Lindsay Johnson, and juniors Chevonne Anderson, Kristina Dungan, Joe Hu, John Wieser and Zach Zockall, finished 67th.

“I knew our teams would do well, but I didn’t know they would do as well as they did,” Fiedler said.


The first-place finish tops the third-place performance of a group of sophomores in 2007. WRA’s last first-place finish in the competition came in 1999, when a group of seniors took top honors.


The JETS TEAMS program is an annual high school competition challenging students to work collaboratively and apply their math and science knowledge in practical, creative ways to solve real everyday engineering challenges. 


This year’s competition theme, Smarter Energy, Cleaner Planet, showed students how engineers in various disciplines tackled last year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and tasked competitors with solving the demand for oil with the global need for diversification, efficiency, security and ecological sustainability.

For complete 9/10 rankings, visit this link.

For complete 11/12 rankings, visit this link.

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