Senior excels in academics, cross country, track

Sam Bockstoce has earned the title of National Merit Semifinalist, all while competing in Science Olympiad, Mu Alpha Theta, cross country and track.


Chloe Grimm

Bockstoce poses with his congratulatory letter from the Ohio Senate.

Chloe Grimm, Feature Editor

Students gather in the math common area, where a group of students raid a bag of snacks after school one Tuesday. Athletes gather outside the school on an early Saturday to shuffle onto a bus. Everyone cracks open their iPads and logs into AreteLabs, where a timer counts down to begin the Math Madness contest. The athletes set up at the tent labeled Revere and get ready for their races. The students talk among themselves until the timer gets down to a minute. The athletes line up by the start line in stance to begin the race. The timer hits zero, and students begin to write on the scrap paper and type in their calculators. The gun fires, and the runners take off for their 5k run. Thirty minutes for eight problems. Less than twenty minutes for 3.1 miles. 

Two different concepts: a math contest and a cross country race, but these two events connect through Revere senior Sam Bockstoce. 

Bockstoce is part of Mu Alpha Theta, Science Olympiad, cross country, indoor and outdoor track and excels in school, earning him a spot as a National Merit Semifinalist. 

Bockstoce began cross country and Science Olympiad in seventh grade when they were first offered and has been participating in both ever since. He also worked his way up in the Mu Alpha Theta Math Honors Society and is now an executive board member. Middle school math teacher, cross country coach, and track coach Kevin Somerville has known Bockstoce since eighth grade when he was in his advanced math class. 

“I’ve seen [Bockstoce] continue to become such a responsible, mature student and athlete, someone we can always rely on to be leading the way when the team’s practicing off campus or going out for longer runs. We know with people like him out there, we can trust that [the cross country team is] doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” Somerville said.

Bockstoce continues his responsible nature to the Mu Alpha Theta Honors Society where he not only is a member but also creates many of the presentations and is an active participant. The club administers various math contests throughout the year and makes the contests a fun way to learn math and be recognized for a student’s math skill. Math teacher Joanne Gillette has had Bockstoce in class and is also the adviser of the math society, so she has seen him grow in the field throughout high school. Gillette explained what Bockstoce does to be involved in the club. 

“Over the summer, [Bockstoce] created some excellent math lessons to help people improve their math skills. He also attends all the activities including Minuteman Time. Sam is a friendly, encouraging student who’s fun to work with. In addition, Sam is a reliable math tutor this year and also [was] last year,” Gillette said. 

Even though tutoring is not a requirement for Mu Alpha Theta members, Bockstoce decided to take part in helping other students with any math needs. He explained why he continues to help in the mornings Monday through Friday. 

“If someone shows up, it’s nice to help them out and share what I learned in that class to help them try and see it easier. It’s a cool process to see them figure out a concept or something that they’re struggling with,” Bockstoce said. 

Bockstoce’s involvement in the STEM field furthers with his involvement in Science Olympiad. The season will start soon and carry through winter and early spring. There are different types of contests including tests where students are allowed a number of notes but also hands on contests. Bockstoce explained the competitions he participates in. 

“They give you specifications and something that you have to complete, and then you build a device to compete against other people to see who can do it better. I built a ramp and a car, and I had to get the [car] to stop right on a point. I think it was nine meters out from the ramp, and it was how close I could get it compared to other people,” Bockstoce said. 

Bockstoce wants to continue his learning from specifically Science Olympiad in what he will major in in college, mechanical engineering. The field focuses in science, specifically physics, and math to create and fix mechanical systems. Bockstoce explained how his experience in Science Olympiad is similar. 

“Through Science Olympiad I’ve done a lot of building type events, and I like that process of designing and improving stuff and modifying it. The mechanical aspect is what’s most appealing to me,” Bockstoce said.

Bockstoce’s work in school does not stop at just clubs and grades, but he is also currently a National Merit Semifinalist, scoring in the top half percent in the country on the PSAT. As a semifinalist, Bockstoce has the chance to become a National Merit Finalist as well. He submitted an essay, filled out an application and got a letter of recommendation for the chance to become one of the 15,000 finalists in the country. 

Bockstoce continues to keep himself busy with all his academic work along with athletics. Even with a hip injury this cross country season, he secured an alternate spot for the district race and still has the indoor and outdoor track to gain back his best times. Somerville added how Bockstoce continues to face challenges with resilience. 

“He [has] encountered a couple setbacks in both track season last school year and then cross country season this school year, where he’s been injured after putting in lots of hard work. He had to work really hard to get back into great running shape, but during both the spring and fall season, he overcame those setbacks and went back to running near his best again,” Somerville said. 

Bockstoce will continue on in indoor and outdoor track, along with math contests in Mu Alpha Theta and his final year in Science Olympiad. Bockstoce will find out if his skill earned him a spot as a National Merit Finalist on February eighth and see if post-injury he can come back stronger than his junior year for the 2022 track season.