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March 3, 2009

Juneau high school students sweep ocean bowl for third straight year


View a photo gallery from the 2009 Tsunami Bowl.

Seward, Alaska—Juneau high school students have done it again.

For the third year in a row, high school students from Juneau have won first and second place in the Tsunami Bowl, Alaska's regional version of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, a three-day-long, rapid-fire competition about the ocean, complete with jeopardy-style buzzer sessions, written questions and team research projects. The Tsunami Bowl was held February 6-8 in Seward.

The winning team, the Juneau-Douglas High School "Naughty Nautilli," will travel to the NOSB finals in April in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History's Sant Ocean Hall. Last year, the NOSB finals were held in Seward. At the finals, the winning teams from 25 regions across the U.S. compete for the national title.

Click on the image to visit the 2009 Tsunami Bowl photo gallery.

This year's second place team is a combined team from Thunder Mountain High School, a new high school in Juneau, and Juneau-Douglas High School. The Juneau teams worked closely throughout the school year, spending several hours per week studying together and competing in practice buzzer sessions.

The Juneau-Douglas team was coached by Ben Carney, a three-year NOSB veteran, and the combined Thunder Mountain/Juneau-Douglas team was coached by Jake Jacoby, a newcomer to the competition. Juneau high school students have dominated the Tsunami Bowl since it began in 1998, with nine first place wins in the past 12 years.

"When people congratulate me on our performance, I say: 'The kids did it. It is easy to look good when surrounded by talent,'" says Carney.

The Juneau teams edged out a third place team from Cordova High School for the overall win. Although the Cordova team won the quiz portion of the competition, the Juneau students excelled in the research project portion of the Bowl.

Both first and second place teams won scholarships to their choice of either the University of Alaska Fairbanks or the University of Alaska Southeast.

The first place team members include Kayla Harrison, Molly Emerson, Stephen Kubota, Jacob Pernula and Tyler Houseweart.

The National Ocean Sciences Bowl was established in 1998 to encourage learning about the oceans and increase the teaching of ocean sciences in high schools. Support for NOSB is provided by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. The regional competition is supported by several generous sponsors including the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences and Alaska Sea Grant.

The UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences conducts world-class marine and fisheries research, education and outreach across Alaska, the Arctic and Antarctic. 55 faculty scientists and 135 students are engaged in building knowledge about Alaska and the world's coastal and marine ecosystems. SFOS is headquartered at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and serves the state from facilities located in Seward, Juneau, Anchorage and Kodiak.Read about team Naughty Nautilli's 2008 all-expenses-paid educational trip to California

Every year, the winning team from Alaska receives an all-expenses paid trip to the NOSB finals. Last year, the finals were held for the first time in Alaska. To reward the 2008 Tsunami Bowl winning team from Alaska (the Juneau-Douglas "Naughty Nautilli"), the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences arranged an all-expenses paid marine education trip for the team to travel to San Francisco and Monterey Bay, California, last May. Funding for the trip was provided by the donors who supported the 2008 NOSB finals in Seward.

The students started their journey in San Francisco, where they visited Fisherman's Wharf and the Exploratorium. During their travels down the California coast, they had behind-the-scenes tours of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the Moss Landing Institute. The behind-the-scenes tours were arranged by SFOS Dean Denis Wiesenburg.

Read the students' description of their travels and photos at here.

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