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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
St. John the Baptist Middle School student Sam Penrod competes in the mousetrap car event in the Utah Science Olympiad at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 13, 2013.

SALT LAKE CITY — More than 900 local junior high and high school students squared off Saturday in a battle of the brains at the Utah Science Olympiad.

The state science education competition at the University of Utah featured teams of students building helicopters, magnetic trains that levitate, and cars made from mousetraps.

Nationwide, 6,800 teams participate in Science Olympiad competitions, designed to expose youngsters to science and engineering careers while bringing classroom science to life.

"These challenges test students' ingenuity and intellect in a fun, academic track meet-type environment," said Ashley Nicholes, Utah Science Olympiad coordinator.

The Utah Science Olympiad is one of 50 state competitions culminating in the May 17-18 national tournament at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. The winning junior high and high school teams from each state go on to the national competition.