Lee High School of Houston wins 2009 Dolphin Challenge, advances to finals in Washington, D.C.

February 23, 2009

By Bianca Whitaker

COLLEGE STATION, TX — Students from Houston’s Lee High School defeated 13 other teams to win the 2009 Dolphin Challenge, the northern Texas regional National Ocean Sciences Bowl Competition, at Texas A&M University in College Station Saturday.

Coached by Shelby Powers and Michael Walker, the team of Rigoberto Soto, Ali Liaquat, Samantha Blummer, David Moreno and Kelvin Lo will advance to national competition in Washington, D.C., in April.

“We couldn’t be happier for our kids,” Walker said. “They worked so hard in all of their classes and especially for preparing for the Dolphin Challenge. It’s nice to see their hard work and dedication being recognized.”

Lee defeated second-place winners Langham Creek High School, also of Houston, in the first round, but Langham Creek came back to defeat Lee during the last round of double-elimination, requiring a third contest between the two teams to determine the final winner.

Timothy Kraemer coached Langham Creek’s team of Sarah Lamaster, Amanda Amstadt, Morgan Larson, Derek Jones and Ashley Cooper.

Sanger High School’s Team B — Bailey Martin, Eli Springer, Ashley Chauncey, Naomi Kliewer and Jenna Crittenden, coached by Lori Bradley — received the Ralph Rayburn Sportsmanship Award. The award is named for the late Associate Director and Extension Program leader of the Texas Sea Grant College Program, which coordinates the Dolphin Challenge.

“The basic premise of our competition is to encourage young people to gain knowledge and interest in the sciences,” said Bianca Whitaker, NOSB Regional Coordinator at Texas Sea Grant. “We hope to reach as many students as possible through this program, allowing them the chance to network with scientists and others from related fields, as well as rewarding them for their hard work through participation gifts and scholarship opportunities.” 

The National Ocean Sciences Bowl is a college bowl-style competition for high school students. Question topics cover the biology, physics, geology and chemistry of the oceans as well as related geography, technology, history, policy and current events. The competition is managed by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, which represents leading oceanographic institutions, universities and aquaria.

The Dolphin Challenge is one of two regional competitions in Texas and one of 25 in the United States. Teams in the northern part of the state, essentially north of Interstate 10, meet in College Station each February.

Texas Sea Grant is part of a network of 32 university-based programs in coastal and Great Lakes states that operate as a partnership between the state governments and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  It is located at Texas A&M University and focuses on three interconnected activities: research, outreach and education.

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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.