Star Charter “A” wins 2011 Loggerhead Challenge

February 22, 2011

By Liz Turner

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The “A” team from Star Charter School bested eight other high school teams from south and west Texas on Saturday to win the 2011 Loggerhead Challenge Regional Competition of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB), hosted by the Texas Sea Grant College Program.

The team now moves on to the NOSB National Finals, scheduled April 29-May 1 in Galveston, where it will meet the champions from the 24 other regions across the country. The Loggerhead challenge is one of two regional NOSB competitions held in Texas each year. The Dolphin Challenge, also hosted by Texas Sea Grant, is held at Texas A&M University in College Station and features teams from north and east Texas. 

The Loggerhead Challenge is a rigorous high school academic competition held on the campus of TAMU-CC. Students demonstrate their knowledge of marine and coastal science by answering questions from biology, physics, chemistry, geology, geography, mathematics and the social sciences.

The NOSB competition 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. It is managed by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, a nonprofit organization representing 94 of the leading public and private ocean research and education institutions, aquaria and industries with the mission to advance research, education and sound ocean policy.

The Texas Sea Grant College Program, based at Texas A&M University in College Station, is a partnership of university, government and industry focusing on marine research, education and outreach. 

To win the competition, the team of Michael Wood (Captain), Danielle Flaherty, Randi Cannon, Kyle Crop and Taylor Glaeser had to defeat Star Charter’s B team in the championship match. The “B” team comprised Kyle Guckian (Captain), Addison Kliewer, Zack Lopez, Delaney Rogers and Jared Tompkins.

Both teams are coached by Rue Domel. Star Charter is an open-enrollment, publicly funded charter school in Austin. 

A total of nine teams from six schools competed in the Loggerhead Challenge. In addition to Star Charter, Gregory-Portland High School and San Antonio’s James Madison and Theodore Roosevelt High School’s fielded A and B teams. Corpus Christi’s Foy H. Moody High School and Annapolis Christian Academy each sent one team. 

Madison High School’s B Team won the inaugural Dr. Wes Tunnell Sportsmanship Award. Competition officials judged that the team of Dayton King (Captain), Nate Bernik, Melissa Castro and Ethan Hardin best embodied the spirit of earnest competition while demonstrating exemplary decorum .

Tunnell, associate director of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC), is a much-respected marine scientist who is renowned as much for his integrity, honesty and work ethic as he is for his expansive body of research.

Prior to the opening round of matches Saturday morning, Loggerhead Challenge Regional Coordinator Liz Turner presented a Volunteer Service Award to Jim Biedenbach. Turner, who is also Texas Sea Grant’s marine education specialist, said the award recognized Biedenbach’s 13 years of dedicated service to the Loggerhead Challenge and to marine education. Biedenbach is a biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Pictured: Loggerhead Challenge coordinator Liz Turner (far right) awards the first place trophy to the Star Charter A team, from left: Randi Cannon, Michael Wood (Captain), Kyle Crop, Coach Rue Domel, Danielle Flaherty and Taylor Glaeser.

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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.