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The 9th annual Blue Crab Bowl will bring some of Virginia's smartest high school students to the campus of Old Dominion University Feb. 11.

Sixteen teams from fourteen of the state's high schools will compete in the bowl, which is the Virginia regional competition of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. The NOSB is a federally sponsored education program that enriches science teaching and learning across the United States.

About 60 faculty, students and staff members associated with the ODU Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and The College of William and Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science will participate in the day's events. Elizabeth A. Smith, ODU research assistant professor of oceanography, is the director of the Virginia regional competition.

"Prizes provide students and their teachers with the opportunity to work beside experienced marine scientists through field trips and other hands-on marine experiences," said Smith. "But the NOSB is more than just a competition. Our goal is to expand high school students' ocean knowledge and the public's appreciation for the importance of ocean research and discovery."

The Blue Crab Bowl winner advances to the national competition in Monterey, Calif., along with the winners in 24 other states. Last year's winning team in Virginia was from the Chesapeake Bay Governor's School, Warsaw Campus, in Tappahannock, and the school has entered another team this year.

Other schools with teams are: Alleghany High School, Covington; Bishop Sullivan Catholic School, Virginia Beach; Churchland High School, Portsmouth; Coeburn High School, Coeburn; Fauquier High School, Warrenton; Flint Hill Preparatory School, Oakton; Fredericksburg Academy, Fredericksburg; Grafton High School, Grafton; James Monroe High School, Fredericksburg; James River High School, Buchanan; Liberty High School, Bealeton; Maury High School, Norfolk; I. C. Norcom High School, Portsmouth, and Paul VI Catholic High School, Fairfax.

Contestants face rapid-fire questioning about the chemistry, geology, physics, biology, history and economics of the marine environment.

ODU President Roseann Runte will welcome the contestants, their coaches and supporters, and academic participants during an opening session, 8:15 a.m., Feb. 11, in the Batten Arts and Letters Building at 43rd Street and Hampton Boulevard.

Round-robin competition begins at 9 a.m., leading to a double-elimination round beginning at noon and the championship round beginning at 3 p.m. All competition is in the BAL Building.

This article was posted on: January 27, 2006

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