Brandeis High School team wins Loggerhead Challenge regional ocean science competition

February 18, 2017

By Cindie Powell

PORT ARANSAS, Texas — For the second consecutive year, students from Louis D. Brandeis High School in San Antonio have won the Loggerhead Challenge, the southern Texas regional competition of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB), held this year in Port Aransas on Saturday, Feb. 18.

Hosted by Texas A&M University’s Texas Sea Grant College Program, the competition took place on the campus of The University of Texas Marine Science Institute.

Competing for only their second year, the Brandeis team — Parth Ghawghawe, Jingsi Zhou, Andrew Luo, William Huang and Daniel Cao, coached by Leilani Heist — had only one returning member from last year’s winning team. The students will advance to the NOSB finals April 20-23 in Corvallis, Ore., where they will face more than 20 other teams from around the country.

“Team A” from The Village School in Houston took the second place title. Coached by Mila Taylor, team members are Nicholas Vaporciyan, Jerry Han, Rohith Karur, Alex Liu and Eric Liu.

Third place honors went to Gregory-Portland High School’s “Team A,” Alejandro Zuniga-Garcia, Aaron Buitron, Tanisha Agrawal, Namit Agrawal and Ethan Garza, coached by Liz Abel with Assistant Coach Alison Teinert.  

Students from McAllen Memorial High School’s “Team B” — Mariana Garcia, Victoria Frias, Bianca Salinas and Julissa Gutierrez, coached by Antonio Villarreal — won the Dr. Wes Tunnell Sportsmanship Award. Tunnell, the Endowed Chair for Biodiversity and Conservation Science and Professor Emeritus at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, is widely respected for both his integrity and his research. The sportsmanship award goes to the team judged by competition officials to best embody the spirit of earnest competition while demonstrating exemplary decorum.

The Loggerhead Challenge is the second of two regional NOSB competitions in Texas this month. Students from the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Science and the Arts in Hot Springs, Ark., won the Dolphin Challenge Feb. 4 in Galveston.

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. About 2,000 students from more than 300 high schools across the nation participate in NOSB each year.