Austin’s Chaparral Star Academy wins 2014 Loggerhead Challenge

March 03, 2014

By Terrie Looney

PORT ARANSAS, Texas — Students from Chaparral Star Academy in Austin took first and second place honors at the 2014 Loggerhead Challenge, the South Texas regional competition of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) on Saturday, March 1.

The competition, hosted by the Texas Sea Grant College Program at Texas A&M University, was held on the campus of The University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas.

After a day of competing against students from six other schools, the two teams from the Chaparral Star Academy in Austin met in the final round, where Team “A” — Kimberly Brockhausen, Randi Cannon, Alex Clarke, Eric Clinch and Brady Romero — narrowly defeated the school’s Team “B” — Jason Cannon, Thaddeus Ellsworth, Karina Gaona Morales, Keath Guckian and Evan Tiemann — by only seven points. The students were coached by Kris Barnett, with Allyson Fox serving as assistant coach.

“These students work incredibly hard to prepare for this competition,” said Terrie Looney, NOSB Regional Coordinator and Texas Sea Grant’s Coastal and Marine Resources Agent for Jefferson and Chambers Counties. “They have to answer questions in all disciplines of the ocean sciences — biology, chemistry, physics, geology and geography, even the social sciences. The knowledge they demonstrate is truly impressive.”

Students from San Antonio’s Tom C. Clark High School, appearing at the Loggerhead Challenge for the first time, captured third place. Coached by Shannon Sahabi, the team members were Robyn Arreguin, Isaiah Butcher, Kevin Choy, Thomas Ferrer and Panos Papanikolaou.

The Dr. Wes Tunnell Sportsmanship Award, given to the team judged by competition officials to best embody the spirit of earnest competition while demonstrating exemplary decorum, went to McAllen Memorial High School’s team of Min-Hung Chou, Gabriel Ibanez, Aide Morales, Tomas Ream and Diego Saenz, coached by Antonio Villarreal. The award is named for the widely respected ocean scientist and associate director of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Other participating schools were, from Corpus Christi, Annapolis Christian Academy and Foy H. Moody High School; from Portland, Gregory-Portland High School, which sent two teams; and from San Antonio, James Madison High School, which also had two teams participating.

Chaparral Star Academy’s Team A will compete in the national NOSB finals in Seattle, Wash., May 1-4. Last year’s Loggerhead Challenge winners, Annapolis Christian Academy, won the sportsmanship award at the 2013 national competition in Wisconsin.

Texas Sea Grant hosts both of Texas’ regional NOSB competitions. The Dolphin Challenge, which is held in Galveston for high schools in the northern part of the state, was Feb. 1 at Texas A&M University at Galveston. The winners, Langham Creek High School, will also be among the 24 teams competing at the national finals.

At the national level, NOSB, a program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership based in Washington, D.C., is designed to encourage and support the next generation of marine scientists, policy makers, teachers, explorers, researchers, technicians and informed citizens to be stewards of the ocean. In 2014, about 2,000 students from more than 300 high schools were expected to participate. It is intended to increase knowledge of the oceans on the part of high school students, their teachers and parents, and to raise the visibility and public understanding of the national investment in ocean-related research.

Pictured:

2014 Loggerhead Challenge Winners Chaparral Star Academy’s Team “A”: From left, Coach Kris Barnett, Randi Cannon, Brady Romero, Alex Clarke, Kimberly Brockhausen, Eric Clinch and Assistant Coach Alysson Fox. (Texas Sea Grant photo.)

Chaparral Star Academy’s Team “B” received second place in the 2014 Loggerhead Challenge: Back row, from left, Coach Kris Barnett, Jason Cannon, Evan Tiemann, Keath Guckian, Thaddeus Ellsworth and Assistant Coach Allyson Fox; front row, Karina Gaona Morales. (Texas Sea Grant photo)

San Antonio’s Tom C. Clark High School won third place in the 2014 Loggerhead Challenge: From left, Coach Shannon Sahabi, Kevin Choy, Panos Papanikolaou, Isaiah Butcher, Thomas Ferrer and Robyn Arreguin. (Texas Sea Grant photo)

McAllen Memorial High School received the Dr. Wes Tunnell Sportsmanship Award at the 2014 Loggerhead Challenge: From left, Diego Saenz, Gabriel Ibanez, Tomas Ream, Aide Morales, Coach Antonio Villarreal and Min-Hung Chou. (Texas Sea Grant photo)

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Texas Sea Grant is a unique partnership that unites the resources of the federal government, the State of Texas and universities across the state to create knowledge, tools, products and services that benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens of Texas. It is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is one of 33 university-based Sea Grant Programs around the country. Texas Sea Grant is a non-academic research center in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University. The program’s mission is to improve the understanding, wise use and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources.