Bishop Sullivan wins Blue Crab Bowl for 10th-straight year

  • 1st Place: Bishop Sullivan Catholic HS – Team A  Coached by science teachers Bill Dunn (far L) and Dr. Carol Stapanowich (far R), team members include (L-R): Sebastián Martinez (Sr.); Gerry Fernandez III (Jr.); Team Captain Ignatius Liberto II (Sr.); Jake Leporte (Sr.); and Alan Ding (Sr.).  © C. Katella/VIMS.
  • 2nd Place: Seton School - Team A  Coached by Hank Konstanty (far L) and Tricia Kellogg (far R), team members include (L-R): Benjamin Dealey (Jr.); Co-Team Captain Regina Terreri (Jr.); Martin Quinan (Jr.); Co-Team Captain Joseph LaVigne (Jr.); and Sean Kellogg (Jr.).  © C. Katella/VIMS.
  • 3rd Place: Bishop Sullivan Catholic HS - Team B  Coached by science teachers Bill Dunn (far L) and Dr. Carol Stapanowich (far R), team members include (L-R): Andrew Michalak; Madeline Coleman; Matthew Mytych; Team Captain Gregory Mytych; and Keith Espinosa  © C. Katella/VIMS.
  • 4th Place: Seton School - Team B  Coached by Tricia Kellogg (far R) and Hank Konstanty (far L), team members include (L-R): Catherine Moore (Jr.); Monica Wood (Jr.); Patrick Murray (Jr.); Team Captain Brendan Santschi (Jr.); and Hannah Freivald (Jr.).  © C. Katella/VIMS.
Photo - of -
Virginia high school students compete in 20th-annual Blue Crab Bowl

Fifteen teams from across the Commonwealth faced off during the 20th-annual Blue Crab Bowl at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science on Saturday, with powerhouse Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School from Virginia Beach taking first place for a record tenth straight year.

The Blue Crab Bowl, the Virginia regional competition of the National Ocean Science Bowl (NOSB©), brought nearly 80 top students to Gloucester Point for a day of heated tournament competition focused on the marine sciences. The teams represent high schools throughout Virginia, from Manassas in the north and Warrenton in the west to Isle of Wight in the south and Exmore on the Eastern Shore.

NOSB is a program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that represents the nation’s leading ocean science and technology institutions. Attending this year’s Blue Crab Bowl was COL President and CEO, Rear Admiral Jonathan White, representing the consortium’s 86 members.

VIMS grad student Bruce Pfirrman shows a blue crab to Blue Crab Bowl participants in a pre-tournament tour of VIMS' research laboratories. ©C. Katella/VIMS.Students from 10 of the competing high schools also visited VIMS on Friday for an immersive experience in ocean science. Their visit included a tour of research labs for in-person discussions with graduate students concerning current projects, and a presentation from Associate Dean of Academic Studies Dr. Linda Schaffner, who described careers in marine science and shared seasoned advice on how to prepare.

After a challenging day of both round-robin and double-elimination matches—46 in all—Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School’s Team A took the top spot with an undefeated performance. In second place was Seton School Team A, from Manassas, while Bishop Sullivan’s Team B took third and Seton School’s Team B placed fourth. This was the first time that all top four positions were dominated by just two schools.

All teams were recognized during an awards ceremony by Bowl coordinators Dr. Carol Hopper Brill from VIMS and Dr. Victoria Hill from ODU. Prizes were presented by Rear Admiral White and Dr. Mark Luckenbach, VIMS’ Associate Dean of Research & Advisory Services. The students were applauded for their accomplishments and encouraged to continue their studies in interdisciplinary marine sciences.This final round matchup pitted Seton School and Bishop Sullivan high schools. © C. Katella/VIMS.

The winning team will now represent Virginia in the national competition, facing other regional champions at the NOSB finals, which take place from April 20-23, in Corvallis, Oregon.

Two decades of partnership and success

The Blue Crab Bowl is a cooperative effort between William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science and Old Dominion University’s Department of Ocean, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences. More than 75 scientists—including faculty, graduate students, and staff from both institutions and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—donated many hours of their time to ensure the success of the event.

Virginia’s Blue Crab Bowl was among the inaugural NOSB competitions in 1998. Designed to inspire and challenge high school students, NOSB contests like the Blue Crab Bowl test the competitors’ knowledge of the marine sciences, covering the breadth of oceanography and maritime disciplines. To date, the Blue Crab Bowl has involved 1,620 of the Commonwealth’s brightest science students from 53 public and private schools across Virginia.

Using questions designed by marine scientists and educators, the contest tested students’ knowledge of oceanography, geology, biology, maritime history, and policy. Guided by their teacher coaches, students broadened their awareness and understanding of the oceans as they prepared for the competition. The Bowl provides a forum for students who excel in math and science to receive regional and national recognition for their diligence and talent. During Saturday's event, the competition started with a field of 15 teams, with 4 emerging as top contenders by late afternoon.

Event organizers celebrated the 20th annual Blue Crab Bowl with a display of event programs and announcements dating back to 1998, along with the traditional awards bowls for 2017. © C. Hopper Brill/VIMS.Through 25 regional competitions across the nation, NOSB provides an educational forum intended to generate student interest in the ocean sciences; improve awareness of our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes; and create an “ocean literate” society that can meet the ocean challenges of the future. During 2017, an expected 2,000 students from more than 300 high schools from around the country will participate in the 20th-annual event.


The Blue Crab Bowl wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of national, regional, and local sponsors. The local sponsors are VIMS; ODU’s Department of Ocean Earth & Atmospheric Sciences; VIMS Marine Advisory Program; the Mid-Atlantic Marine Education Association and National Marine Educators Association; Leave Only Bubbles/What If Scientific; Comfort Suites-Airport, Newport News; Pizza Hut, Gloucester Point. For a list of the national and regional sponsors, visit the NOSB website at

Competing 2017 teams
  • Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School – Team A, Virginia Beach
  • Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School – Team B, Virginia Beach
  • Broadwater Academy – Team A, Exmore
  • Broadwater Academy – Team B, Exmore
  • Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, Glenns Campus, Glenns
  • Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, Warsaw Campus – Team A, Warsaw
  • Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, Warsaw Campus – Team B, Warsaw
  • Churchland High School, Portsmouth
  • Fauquier High School, Warrenton
  • Governor’s School for Science & Technology –New Horizons, Hampton
  • Isle of Wight Academy, Isle of Wight
  • Patrick Henry High School‐ Team A, Ashland
  • Patrick Henry High School‐ Team B, Ashland
  • Seton School – Team A, Manassas
  • Seton School – Team B, Manassas