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Odyssey of the Mind Teams Win State Championships

Bull Run's Odyssey of the Mind team won the state competition at Newport News, Va., on April 12 beating out eight teams. It will advance to the world finals in Ames, Iowa, on May 28-June 1.

This is the second year in a row that Bull Run's team won the state championship.

"I'm just amazed that they won two years in a row," said coach Barbara Mullins. "They're incredibly supportive, they're funny, creative. That's a lot to say about little kids."

Bull Run was also first place in its flight at the Thomas Jefferson Spontaneous Invitational in February.

At the state competition, the team of Bull Run sixth-graders actually competed against teams of eighth-graders. The Bull Run sixth-graders include: Jessica Mullins, Andy Nye, Courtney Hubbard, Caitlin Booe, Chris Thomas, Erin Friedlander and Nabeela Hasan.

"They work well together and that's why they're good," said Mullins.

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Robinson Secondary's team also came in first place at regional competition on March 8, won the state competition and will advance to the world finals in Iowa.

Robinson's team won the award for exceptional creativity and risk taking — called the Ranatra Fusca award — for long-term solutions. This is the highest honor bestowed for Odyssey of the Mind. During competition they made a huge Jacob's Ladder that measured 7-feet by 8 feet.

The Robinson team was also young for its group — all freshmen — who competed against seniors. The Robinson team is made up of Josh Mullins, Erica Albrigo, Trent Lukacyzk, Matt Hein and Colton O'Connor.

Along with Barbara Mullins, the Robinson team is co-coached by Marianne Thomas.

For more than 20 years, Odyssey of the Mind has taught creative problem-solving methods while having fun in the process. Students from all over the world (Australia, China, Hungary) compete in the world finals demonstrating their creative team-building skills.

Teams are scored in three areas: a long-term problem where they prepare solutions and bring them to competition; style, or the enhancement of the long-term problem solution; and the on-the-spot spontaneous problem, given to the team on the day of the competition.