The Stuyvesant Ocean Bowl team placed second at the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) 2012 “Shore Bowl” Regional Competition on Saturday, March 3. The tournament was held at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
The NOSB is a timed academic competition designed to test students on their knowledge of the marine sciences. Created in 1998 by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, the NOSB now has over 300 schools and 2,000 students participating annually.
Each competition consists of approximately 15 rounds. Rounds consist of two six- minute sections, with a two minute break in between. Each round contains a collection of 14 toss-up questions open to both teams for individual team members to answer unaided. If a team correctly answers a tossup question, it is then given bonus questions for the members to complete together. In each match, the teams must also answer two challenge questions, which each respective team must collaborate on to produce a written response.
In addition to the Stuyvesant team, eight other teams from across New Jersey attended the 2012 Shore Bowl, one of the 25 regional competitions held nationwide yearly. Teams placing first at the regional tournaments advance to the NOSB finals held in April.
The Stuyvesant Ocean Bowl team arrived at Rutgers University at 7:15 a.m. and was accompanied by biology teacher and faculty advisor Marissa Maggio. Though the team normally has five members – seniors Brady Pan, Michelle Zhang, Mimi Yen, captain Judy Pu, and alternate and junior Anita Yau – Yen was unable to attend the tournament due to her Intel Science Talent Search 2012 obligations.
There were four preliminary rounds to separate the teams into a winners bracket and a losers bracket. Once the brackets were decided, the competition turned into a series of double elimination rounds.
“For double elimination, teams compete until they lose and then are placed in the losers bracket until they lose again, which means that they are eliminated,” Pu said.
The Stuyvesant Ocean Bowl team remained out of the losers bracket up until the championship round, which ended with a four-point loss to the Marine Academy of Science and Technology.
“It was so close,” Yau said. “We lost by four points, or one question. One question and we would have won first place.”
The team believes biology teacher Steven McClellan’s oceanography class, which most of the team has taken, gave them a large advantage during the competition. “We actually knew many answers, with a lot of thanks to Mr. McClellan,” Pu said. “It was exciting to compete and test our knowledge and resourcefulness.”
The 2012 Shore Bowl was the second tournament that the team has attended since the current Stuyvesant Ocean Bowl team members founded the team last year. Throughout the year, the team meets every day after school to review for the regional qualifier competition.
“I am super proud of how hard everyone worked because it took a lot of independent studying,” Maggio said. “I am also grateful to Mr. McClellan, whose oceanography class helped us immensely at the tournament.”
Though the team performed better at the tournament in comparison to last year, Pu acknowledges that the team may be different next year. “We [seniors] will never get another chance as we are graduating this year,” Pu said. “There will only be one returning member next year, so the team will have to start over. Second place is an achievement, but it’s also aggravating.” Despite their recent achievement, the team must prepare for next year. There will be an Ocean Bowl interest meeting for those who have taken the oceanography class in Room 727 on Monday April 2. “We’ve already brought in some new recruits,” Yau said. “But we could use a few more [students].”
Although the majority of the team will be graduating this year, Maggio is optimistic about the team’s future. “This is only our second year,” Maggio said. “If our recruits are half as hardworking as our team members now, then we’ve got a good team.”