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2013 Blue Heron Bowl Winners Advance to National Competition


Katie Mosher, 919/515-9069,

Posted Tuesday, March 5, 2013

For the second year in a row, a team from Raleigh Charter High School has won the Blue Heron Bowl — North Carolina's regional marine science quiz bowl competition. They will travel to Milwaukee, Wisc., in April to try for the national title. The team came in second at the national competition last year.


Raleigh Charter High School Team A, winners of this year's Blue Heron Bowl. From left to right: Whit Hames (coach), Ben Whitfield, Jonathan Tseng, Jonathan Cookmeyer, Dan Qu, and Benjamin Hames. Photo credit: Janelle Fleming.

The 2013 Blue Heron Bowl, hosted this year by the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at North Carolina State University in Raleigh is one of 25 regional competitions that test high schoolers' knowledge of marine science. The Consortium for Ocean Leadership and the National Ocean Sciences Bowl sponsor and fund the regional and national bowls. North Carolina Sea Grant is among state sponsors.

During the 10-hour event, competitors worked individually and with their teammates to answer questions such as, "Which landmass straddles a mid-ocean ridge?" (Iceland) and "What causes the rainbow-like light pattern often observed running up and down the length of the body in phylum Ctenophora?" (Diffraction).

Besides testing their knowledge, the Blue Heron Bowl offers students interested in marine science a chance to interact with professionals in the field. On the night before the competition, participants met at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences to review the rules and meet Dave Eggleston, director of the Center for Marine Science and Technology in Morehead City. Eggleston hosted a screening of undersea movies from the Beneath the Waves Film Festival.

This year's regional coordinator was Janelle Fleming, a physical/biological oceanographer and CEO of Seahorse Coastal Consulting. NC State oceanographer, Paul Liu, was the faculty coordinator.


North Carolina School of Science and Math Team A came in second place. From left to right: Adam Beyer, Kyung-Seok Oh, William Ge, Jessica Gao, and Mark Rickabaugh. Photo credit: Janelle Fleming.

Coach for this year's winning team is Whit Hames, a biology teacher at RCHS. Team members include Jonathan Tseng, Dan Qu, Ben Whitfield, Benjamin Hames, and Jonathan Cookmeyer. First-place prizes included SCUBA diving lessons from Discovery Diving in Beaufort, NC; $1,000 scholarships to NC State; a field trip courtesy of A Time for Science; and $350 gift certificates to Amazon.

The second place team, North Carolina School of Science and Math Team A, won $300 gift certificates from Amazon and a "Discover SCUBA" experience from Discovery Diving.

For third place, North Carolina School of Science and Math Team B won $250 gift certificates from Amazon.

The sportsmanship award went to Walter Williams High School, who received a U.S. flag from the U.S. House of Representatives donated by Walter Jones.

All coaches and players received copies of Sea Grant's Coastwatch magazine. Coaches also received Sea Grant educational materials.

Other sponsors of the 2013 Blue Heron Bowl included: NC State's Center for Marine and Science Technology (CMAST), NC State Bookstores, North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, Discovery Diving, UNC-CH Institute of Marine Sciences, Duke University Marine Lab, UNC-W Center for Marine Science, Institute for Coastal Science and Policy at East Carolina University, A Time for Science nature and science learning center and the Mid-Atlantic Marine Education Association.

For more information about the Blue Heron Bowl, please visit:


North Carolina Sea Grant: Your link to research and resources for a healthier coast