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Destination Imagination teams win big at tournaments

Destination Imagination teams win big at tournaments
David Baxter & MISD Communications
Lakeridge students dressed as animals for their story based on The Lion King.

Mercer Island, WA, April 21, 2023 - The Mercer Island Destination Imagination (DI) teams had a fantastic showing at both the Regional and State DI competitions. At the regional tournament 21 of the 24 teams earned awards and recognition for their work. This included several special awards recognizing exceptional technical designs, integration of music into their solutions, and the inclusion of superior engineering elements. 

View Photo Gallery of Destination Imagination Teams

Twenty of our teams decided to participate in the state competition. 18 of the teams placed in the top teams with an impressive 7 first place awards, 7 second place awards, and 4 third place awards. Teams also received 6 special awards including; multiple Renaissance Awards for outstanding skill in design, engineering, and execution–a Spirit of DI Award for superior role models in the areas of spirit, teamwork sportsmanship or volunteerism–and the very rare Torchbearer Award for teams and/or individuals whose solutions have had extraordinary impact in and beyond their local communities.

Eleven of our teams are continuing to the Global Finals tournament in Kansas City in late May. 

Students involved in Destination Imagination have spent 1-3 hours a week for 20 weeks getting ready for the competition. In addition to creating a story that connects to their specific challenge, they delve into skills such as designing and creating technically sophisticated sets and props, crafting team costumes, and incorporating “Team Choice Elements” that feature individual talents that can help add originality and craftsmanship into their solution. In addition to the STEM elements of Destination Imagination—students learn the very important life skills of working collaboratively, supporting opinions with logical reasoning, and respectfully considering the ideas of others.

The Mercer Island DI program has had a long history of success and it is due in large part to the support of the Mercer Island School District, district staff, and the many parents who volunteer their time as Team Managers, appraisers, and all-around helpers. A total of 159 students from all 6 Mercer Island schools participated in the DI program this year. 

Congratulations to all the teams who have competed this season!

Elementary Level Teams

Fabulous Flippers won second place at both the regional and state DI tournaments. Team members include: Meera Mishra, Alice Shang, Alice Bickel, Kate Kushal, Natalia Louden, Kanav Shah, and Andrew Karweit. The Team Managers are Neelam Saboo and Ren Qingchun. 

Dazzling Dragon Fruits participated in the regional and state DI tournaments. They received first place at regionals and third place at state.  Team members include: Alexis Gold, Eliana Gold, Cecilia Fortson, Arshia Singhal, Neeva Mody, Clare Choe. The Team Manager is Darren Gold.

Washington's Pigs earned second place at the regional tournament and second place at state. This team was awarded the Renaissance award at the state tournament for their excellence in design for the moving ‘wave’ that demonstrated the scientific principles behind a Tsunami. Team members include: Adrian Hajdarpasic, Ahana Zaveri, Bowen Nago, Leo Furdell, and Oliver Bickel. The Team Manager is Deni Hajdarpasic.

If the Shoe Fits earned fifth place at the regional tournament. Team members include: Abigail Browd, Miko Urakawa, Aria Pareek, Shaivi Pandya, Divya Sri Pipavath, Charlotte Clifford, and Joyce Yuan. The team managers are Lynn Browd and Sarah Urakawa.

The Sprites earned first place at the regional tournament and fourth place at the state tournament. Team members include: Callie Baumgarten, Olive Reimer, Brielle Pyeun, Aditi Choudhary, Ian Fung, and Adam Augustine. The Team Managers are Tiffin Goodman and Melinda Reimer.

Drama Dragons earned first place at the regional tournament and first place at the state tournament. Additionally, this team was honored with a Renaissance award for excellence in engineering for their robot and drawbridge at the regional tournament. This team will be performing at Global Finals in May. Team members include: Taylor Hua, Isabelle Loiselle, Amina Harper, Sophie Wang, Clementine Masada, Kaira Reddy, and Mira Prakasam. The Team Managers are Elizabeth Loiselle and Christina Hua.

Middle School Level Teams

The Half Baked Half Dozen took home the fifth-place award for the regional tournament. Team members include: Liam Parcel, Phoebe Carr, Abigail Reimer, Amani Bergquist, Rowan Perez, and Kaylee Hu. The Team Manager is David Baxter. 

Oh Shoot, I Forgot won fourth place at the regional tournament. The team members include: Khai McMullan, Derek Weiss, Jibran Qadeer, Nikhil Mahesh, Samo Lassila, Neil Pandya, and ​​Owen Moloney. The Team Manager is Jamie Cooke. 

Wicked Wizards took home the fourth-place award at the regional tournament. The team members include: Vivaan Datta, Eric Shao, Edwin Jang, Parth Dixit, Dylan Duell, Liam Ames, and Jeffrey Yeh. The Team Managers are Simren Datta and Cassandra Wozniak.

Queens (Don’t Go Bonkers!) earned second place at the regional tournament and second place at the state tournament. The team members include: Sabine Fleming, Kite Robinson, Layla Petricek, Grace Lucas, Kavya Muralidhar, Gitanjali Krishnan, and Ella Choe. The Team Managers are Suzanne Zahr and Juliana Kang Robinson.

Cat-a-strophic Cookies earned second place at the regional tournament and first place at the state tournament. This team was given the DaVinci award at the state tournament in recognition of their precision engineered puzzle which projects an image when complete along with the robotic and hydraulic arms they designed to assemble the puzzle. This team is advancing to the Global Finals tournament in May. Team members include: Hadrian Finch, Sahaj Shah, Matthew Strong, Guillem Sullivan, Jay Mehta, Esha Shroff, and Clare Capasso. The Team Manager is David Baxter. 

Rowdy Rhinos earned third place awards at both the regional and state tournaments. The team members include: Zara Velamoor, Karis Huang, Arianna Zhao, Zara Qadeer, Matteo Manuello, Ina Ruud, and Charlie Denman. The Team Manager is Mina Velamoor.

Used Car Salesmen earned first place at the regional competition and third place at the state tournament. The team members include: Max Pelter, Leo Argella, Beckett Ritter, Calder Laughlin, Abhi Hasbe, Arnav Hasbe, and Kerem Cansizoglu. The Team Managers are Patricia Clemente Pelter and Claudia Clemente.

Maverick earned second place at the regional competition and third place at the state tournament. The team members include: Elliot Vivion, William Browd, Liem McMullan, Viren Pareek, Milan Urakawa, and Eliot Plichta. The Team Managers are Lynn Browd and Erin Vivion.

Counter Theory earned first place honors at both the regional and state tournaments. This team will be competing at Global Finals in May. The team members include: Tessa Baumgarten, Adele Ross, Isaac Reimer, Evie Pyeun, Aidin Azeem, and Nikhil Kini. The Team Managers are Tiffin Goodman, Melinda Reimer, and Ruby Azeem.

The Fluffy DI.nasaurs took home first place at both the regional and state tournaments. The team is traveling to Kansas City for the Global Finals later this year. Team members include: Nolan Kim, Lucas Pae, Andrew Wang, Auderpop Ardillo, Lillian Wu, Rhadika Jhavei, and Ashwin Krishnamoorthy. The Team Managers are Susan Kim, Justin Pae, and Winky Lai.

Death by Marker (also known as 6 DImensions) took home the second-place award at the regional tournament and earned sixth place at state. The team members include: Charlotte Westover, Anvi Gowda, Cesca Lemargie, Reid Linke, Lana Kwon, and Dino Hajdarpasic. The Team Managers are Mike Westover and Madan Gowda.

High School Level Teams

The Mean Green Beans earned second place at both the regional and state tournaments. The team also earned a DaVinci Award for their work. Appraisers commented that the team had ‘amazing everything’ including integration of science into the presentation, using recycled elements in the set, and a great set design. They will be traveling to Kansas City for Global Finals to represent Mercer Island. Team members include: Aadyaa Singhal, Blakeley Bourke, Jasmine Bandrio, Sadie Kim, Steffi Kim, Sydney Parcel, and Rilke Dalton. The Team Managers are Susan Kim and Ying.

You Have Food on Your Shirt took home first place at the regional tournament and second place at state. They will be part of the Global Finals teams participating this year. The team members include: Brenden Sung, Trisha Choudhary, Maxwell Linke, Graham Lucas, Tristan Chan, Sidd Siravara, and Vibhu Shinde. The Team Manager is Julie Langley.

Frankintime was awarded first place at both the regional and state tournaments. The team will be going to Global Finals to rock the crowds in Kansas. Team members include: Aditi Mannby, Keegan Wang, Nandini Damodaran, Bobby Selden, Jonathan Aggar, Alex Lemus, and Melissa Woo. The Team Manager is Julie Langley. 

Not So Average Joes won first place at the regional competition and second place at state. This team is traveling to Global Finals with the other Mercer Island competitors. Team members include: Gareth Tatum, Molly Dudley, Simone Shenoi, Ashwin Krishnaswamy, Ted Matheson, Anahita Najafian, and Steven Gao. The Team Manager is Julie Langley. 

Tortellini in Tutus won first place at the regional tournament and took home second place at state. At the regional tournament the team was awarded the Renaissance Award for exceptional skill in design and engineering. At the state tournament they were given the very rare Torchbearer Award for their work raising awareness and supplies around women's health and appraisers said the group “exemplified community leadership and advocacy.” The team will be presenting their solution at Global Finals in May. Team members include: Adelaide Swenson, Amelia Han, Stella Chen, Isabella Sullivan, Sophia Loiselle, Ale Selden, and Vivian Gan. The Team Manager is Julie Langley. 

Heroic Villains took home first place awards at both the regional and state tournaments. They were also given two special awards at the state tournament–the Renaissance Award for creating “great technical designs and performances” and the Spirit of DI Award for teamwork that demonstrated a great ability to handle adversity with humor and fantastic attitudes. The team will be going to Global Finals in May. Team members include: Alex Millman, Lexi Liu, Naomi Do, Anna Koskinen, Ryan Kinder, Ben Lamperti, and Connor Wood. The Team Manager is David Baxter.

RatDItouille was awarded first place at both the regional and state tournaments and will be heading to Kansas City for Global Finals. The team also received several special awards. At the regional tournament they were given the Renaissance Award for which appraisers said they were blown away by the technical elements as well as the rhyming musical script. They were again given the Renaissance Award at state for what was called a “polished performance where every person was able to share their special gifts. Team members include: Eliot Geer, Tyler Langley, Lucas Lessard, Sidh Shroff, Julius Perez, Sol Park, and Daniel Marcus. The Team Manager is David Baxter. 

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