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Bishop Sullivan Marches to Third Straight Blue Crab Bowl Victory

Christine Chesley and Mary Chang of the Bishop Sullivan team

A team of ocean science whiz kids from Bishop Sullivan High School in Virginia Beach swamped the competition Saturday, March 6, to win the school's third straight Blue Crab Bowl. The annual event for teams from throughout Virginia was held on the Old Dominion University campus.

Senior Christine Chesley, in her fourth year as a member of the Bishop Sullivan team and in her second year as the team's captain, led the victors to one lopsided victory after another in the double elimination competition.

Bishop Sullivan defeated Grafton High School 87 points to 36 in the final round before an audience of more than 200 in the Batten Arts & Letters Building auditorium.

Grafton, which finished second, defeated St. Christopher's School of Richmond (fourth place) and the Chesapeake Bay Governor's School of Warsaw (third place) to reach the finals.

The Bishop Sullivan march to victory impressed Richard Zimmerman, chair of the ODU Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, who was a judge for the event. "I did the first round with Bishop Sullivan this morning and they didn't let the other team answer even one toss-up question," Zimmerman said.

The Bishop Sullivan competitors, especially Chesley, were adept at providing quick recall answers to the toss-up questions.

The winners won a trip to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., to compete next month in the National Ocean Science Bowl.

Victoria Hill, a research assistant professor of ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences at Old Dominion, was a coordinator for the event. She said more than 40 ODU faculty members, staffers and students served as Blue Crab Bowl volunteers. The Virginia Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program and Virginia Institute of Marine Science of the College of William and Mary provided another 30 volunteers. Carol Hopper Brill, an education specialist with the Sea Grant program, is the lead regional coordinator.

Other than Chesley, the Bishop Sullivan team was composed of Kyle Bankes, Mary Chang, Jack Hall and Nathan Taylor. The coach is William Dunn, science department chair at Bishop Sullivan.

"We have an exceptional captain who has a wonderful work ethic and leads a team of dedicated kids who enjoy this and are sincerely interested in ocean science," Dunn said.

Other teams in the competition were from these high schools: Churchland, Portsmouth; Governor's School for Science & Technology, Hampton; Maury, Norfolk; Isle of Wight Academy; Gloucester; Patrick Henry, Hanover County; Louisa County; Fredericksburg Academy; Fauquier; Piedmont Governor's School for Math, Science & Technology, Henry County; Prince Edward County; and Seton, Manassas.

The ocean-related questions posed to the students test knowledge of biology, chemistry, physics, navigation, geography and also history and literature. A sample toss-up question:

Most common SONAR transducers are made from what type of material that changes shape when an electrical voltage is applied? The answer: Piezoelectric.

This article was posted on: March 8, 2010

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