They came from all over the Golden State, from San Francisco to San Dimas -- 24 teams of five students -- to compete in the 15th annual JPL-sponsored regional Ocean Sciences Bowl, a "Jeopardy"-style competition. The event was held over 13 hours on Saturday, March 15, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
The round robin-style "Surf Bowl" featured multiple choice questions and longer, critical thinking-based team challenge questions on ocean-related topics.
At the end of the long day, it was northern California vs. southern California - Arcadia High School vs. San Francisco's Lowell High School. San Francisco hadn't lost a single round in the double-elimination tournament. So in essence, if Arcadia were going to win, they'd have to beat their northern competitors twice, which is exactly what they did to not only win, but also defend their regional title.
"Since we won here last year, we were really looking forward to this weekend and retaining our title," said Arcadia captain Kathy Lee. "Most of our team from last year graduated, so this was mostly a new team and we were really eager to show that we could defend the regional title. And now we're looking forward to defending the national in Seattle, which we won last year."
Taking third place in the competition was Santa Monica High School, while Woodbridge High School won the Good Sportsmanship Award.
The competition was developed to foster the next generation of marine scientists, researchers and environmental advocates. The National Ocean Sciences Bowl is a program of the nonprofit Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education, based in Washington, D.C.
Prizes consist of trips to Catalina Island to visit the Wrigley Marine Science Center, part of USC's Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies.
More information about the National Ocean Sciences Bowl is at: http://nosb.org/