Top science students from Virginia compete in 21st-annual regional ocean science bowl
Team A from Seton School in Manassas captured first place in the 21st-annual Blue Crab Bowl at Old Dominion University's Higher Education Center in Virginia Beach on February 3rd. Runner-up in the intramural final was Seton School-Team B. The win marks the first time Seton School has taken home the first-place trophy, and the first time a single school has taken the top two spots.
The Blue Crab Bowl is the Virginia regional competition of the National Ocean Science Bowl (NOSB©), an annual academic contest to test knowledge of the oceans among high-school students. Seton School-Team A will move on to represent the Commonwealth at the National Ocean Science Bowl on April 19-22 in Boulder, Colorado.
This year’s Blue Crab Bowl pitted 13 teams representing 9 Virginia high schools from across the Commonwealth. In addition to the two teams from Manassas, competitors hailed from Exmore (Broadwater Academy teams A and B), Isle of Wight Academy, Norfolk (Maury High School), Portsmouth (Churchland HS), Virginia Beach (Bishop Sullivan Catholic HS), Yorktown (York HS), and the Glenns and Warsaw campuses of the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, which each entered an A and B team. The Governor’s School teams draw from 11 school divisions in the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck.
The 75 students spent the day in heated tournament competition focused on the marine sciences. It was a challenging day of both round-robin and double-elimination matches—more than 45 in all—but, after the tense final— which ran into an extra round—Seton School-Team A outscored their Team B compatriots. Earning 3rd place was perennial powerhouse Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School, followed in 4th place by Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, Glenns Campus-Team A.
Two decades of partnership and success
The Blue Crab Bowl is a cooperative effort between the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary, and Old Dominion University’s Department of Ocean, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences. More than 70 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.
Dr. Carol Hopper-Brill, the event organizer at VIMS, says “Using questions designed by marine scientists and educators, the contest tested students’ knowledge of oceanography, geology, biology, maritime history, and policy. The Bowl provides a forum for students who excel in math and science to receive regional and national recognition for their diligence and talent.”
Hopper-Brill also thanks the volunteers from VIMS, ODU, and NOAA who collaborated to make the competition a success. “The VIMS community can be proud of the investment made in enriching the education of these aspiring scientists,” she says. “Some of the young people inspired by BCB in past years have participated in VIMS summer internships and other opportunities. Some will certainly become our colleagues in years ahead.”
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 more than 1,600 of the Commonwealth’s brightest science students from 53 public and private schools across Virginia.
The theme of the 2018 National Ocean Sciences Bowl and its local competitions is “Our Ocean Shaping Weather,” a timely and relevant topic given that escalating populations, erosion, more frequent flooding, development, storm impacts, and pollution are among the stressors that impact the protection, economic revenue, security, food, and healthy recreational opportunities provided by our nation’s coasts.
The event alternates between VIMS and ODU. Next year’s 22nd-annual Blue Crab Bowl will take place on the VIMS campus in Gloucester Point.
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 Sciencesa and Higher
Education Center-Virginia Beach; VIMS Marine Advisory Program; Hampton Inn-Oceanfront South; Chesapeake Bay Foundations’ Brock Environmental Center; the Poddery; the Mid-Atlantic Marine Education Association; National Marine Educators Association; and Leave Only Bubbles/What If Scientific. For a list of the national and regional sponsors, visit the NOSB website at www.nosb.org.
Competing 2018 teams
- Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School, Virginia Beach, VA
- Broadwater Academy – Team A, Exmore, VA
- Broadwater Academy – Team B, Exmore, VA
- Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, Glenns Campus – Team A, Glenns, VA
- Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, Glenns Campus – Team B, Glenns, VA
- Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, Warsaw Campus– Team A, Warsaw, VA
- Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, Warsaw Campus– Team B, Warsaw, VA
- Churchland High School, Portsmouth
- Isle of Wight Academy, Isle of Wight, VA
- Maury High School, Norfolk, VA
- Seton School – Team A, Manassas, VA
- Seton School – Team B, Manassas, VA
- York High School, Yorktown, VA