Brandeis High captures top prize at Loggerhead Challenge ocean science competition

February 07, 2016

By Cindie Powell

Students from Brandeis High School in San Antonio, Texas, won top honors at the 2016 Loggerhead Challenge, the southern regional competition of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB), held Saturday, Feb. 6.

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

Coached by Leilani Heist, the Brandeis team of Nathan Corbin, Rodolfo Muzquiz, Pranjal Singh and Daniel Cao will advance to the NOSB finals April 21-24 in Morehead City, NC, where they face more than 20 other teams from across the nation, including another Texas team. Texas Sea Grant also hosts the Dolphin Challenge, the regional competition for northern Texas, which will be held in Galveston on February 27.

Harlingen High School South’s “Team A” won second place, and Gregory Portland High School’s “Team A” took third-place honors. McAllen Memorial High School’s “Team A” received the Dr. Wes Tunnell Sportsmanship Award. 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, the sportsmanship award goes to the team judged by competition officials to best embody the spirit of earnest competition while demonstrating exemplary decorum.

NOSB is a quiz bowl-style competition, in which students answer questions in all disciplines of the ocean sciences: biology, chemistry, physics, geology, geography and the social sciences. It is managed nationally by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. NOSB 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. About 2,000 students from more than 300 high schools around the country participate each year.


First place, Brandeis High School: From left, Coach Leilani Heist and students Rudolfo Muzquiz, Pranjal Singh, Nathan Corbin and Daniel Cao.

Second place, Harlingen High School South’s “Team A”: From left, Assistant Coach Jenneifer Vela, Coach Martin Donley, students Yen-Ting Chen, James Johnson, Kaitlin Villareal, Yumi Wilson and Allyssa Rendon, and Assistant Coach Audulio Garza, Sr. 

Third place, Gregory Portland High School’s “Team A”: Dennis Hong, Raul Martinez, Coach Ross Tuxhorn, Alex Garcia and Brandon Hodge.

Wes Tunnell Sportsmanship Award, McAllen Memorial High School’s “Team A”: Leanna Cornejo, Jakob Rodriguez, Jasen Rodriguez, Coach Antonio Villarreal, Alejandra Cueva and Miranda Garcia.


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.