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Bishop Sullivan Wins Blue Crab Bowl at ODU

photo of winning team in Blue Crab Bowl 2014The winning team from Bishop Sullivan school in Virginia Beach: front from left, Patrick West (sophomore); Anna Chang (senior); Cameron Springer, captain (senior); Will Harris (senior); and back, John Craig (sophomore) and Coach Bill Dunn.

A team from Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School in Virginia Beach started strong and then hung on in the finals to win the 17th annual Blue Crab Bowl, a regional competition of the National Ocean Science Bowl (NOSB), on Saturday, Feb. 1, at Old Dominion University.

This was a record seventh straight year that a Bishop Sullivan team has won the Blue Crab Bowl.

Nearly 80 students on 15 teams, representing 11 Virginia high schools, faced off on the ODU campus to demonstrate their knowledge in subject areas related to the oceans. Teams came from across the commonwealth - from Manassas to Virginia Beach, and from Warrenton in the west to Exmore on the Eastern Shore.

This year's competition was a cliffhanger that required an extra match to determine the final outcome. In the end, Bishop Sullivan's Team A prevailed. In second place was Seton School in Manassas. Chesapeake Bay Governor's School-Warsaw Campus Team B and Bishop Sullivan Team B placed third and fourth respectively.

The Blue Crab Bowl is a cooperative effort between ODU's Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (OEAS) and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), College of William and Mary. More than 70 scientists, including faculty, staff and graduate students from both institutions and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration donated many hours of their time to the event. Additionally, staff from ODU's Webb University Center, Student Recreation Center, Office of University Events and service organizations helped with activities.

Virginia's Blue Crab Bowl was among the inaugural NOSB competitions in 1998. Designed to inspire and challenge high school students, NOSB contests test competitors' knowledge covering the breadth of oceanography and maritime disciplines. To date, the Blue Crab Bowl has involved more than 1,300 of the commonwealth's brightest science students from 52 public and private schools across Virginia.

Using questions designed by marine scientists and educators, the competition tests students' knowledge of oceanography, geology, biology, maritime history and policy. Guided by their teacher-coaches, students broaden their awareness and understanding of the oceans as they prepare 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.

Competing teams in the 2014 Blue Crab Bowl were: Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School - Team A; Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School - Team B; Broadwater Academy - Team A, Exmore; Broadwater Academy - Team B; Chesapeake Bay Governor's School, Glenns Campus; Chesapeake Bay Governor's School, Warsaw Campus - Team A; Chesapeake Bay Governor's School, Warsaw Campus - Team B; Churchland High School, Portsmouth; Fauquier High School - Team A, Warrenton; Fauquier High School - Team B; Governor's School for Science & Technology, Hampton; Grafton High School, Yorktown; Isle of Wight Academy; Patrick Henry High School, Ashland; Seton School.

The bowl is coordinated by Victoria Hill of the oceanography faculty at ODU and Carol Hopper Brill from VIMS. Prizes were presented by Rodger Harvey, chair of ODU's OEAS department and ODU's acting vice president for research.

The winning team will represent Virginia in the national competition, facing other regional champions May 1-4, in Seattle.

The NOSB is a program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership in Washington, D.C. NOSB seeks to interest students in ocean science as a college major and potential career. During 2014, an expected 2,000 students from 300 high schools from around the country will participate in NOSB competitions.

The Blue Crab Bowl wouldn't be possible without the support of national, regional and local sponsors. In addition to ODU and VIMS, they are: Virginia Sea Grant and the Marine Advisory Program, Hampton Inn-Norfolk Naval Base, the Mid-Atlantic Marine Education Association and National Marine Educators Association.