Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School, from Virginia Beach, racked up a decade of dominance at the 20th Annual Blue Crab Bowl, held February 18 at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point. The day-long academic tournament is the Virginia regional competition of the National Ocean Science Bowl (NOSB©). Fifteen teams came from across of the Commonwealth, from Manassas to Virginia Beach, Warrenton in the west to Exmore on the Eastern Shore. The nearly 80 students spent the day in heated tournament competition focused on the marine sciences.

After a challenging day of both round robin and double elimination matches – 46 matches in all – power house Bishop Sullivan’s Team A remained undefeated and captured First Place for a record tenth year. In Second Place was Seton School Team A, from Manassas. 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. And, the competition marked a decade of Bishop Sullivan’s dominance.

Science teachers Bill Dunn and Dr. Carol Stapanowich coached the two Bishop Sullivan teams. The First Place team was headed by Team Captain Ignatius Liberto II (senior) with team members Alan Ding (senior), Gerry Fernandez III (junior); Jake Leporte (senior); and Sebastián Martinez (senior). The Third Place team was captained by Gregory Mytych and included members Madeline Coleman, Keith Espinosa, Andrew Michalak; and Matthew Mytych.

The Blue Crab Bowl is a cooperative effort between the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, and Old Dominion University’s Department of Ocean, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences. Over 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 this exciting event.

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 sixteen teams, with four emerging as top contenders by late afternoon.

The winning team will represent Virginia in the national competition, facing other regional champions at the National finals, April 20-23, in Corvallis, Oregon. The National Ocean Science Bowl is a program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership in Washington, DC. NOSB seeks to interest students in ocean science as a college major and potential career. Through 25 regional competitions across the nation, OSB 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 over 300 high schools from around the country will participate in this 20th annual event.