Friday Harbor places second in 2017 National Ocean Sciences Bowl

By Emma Ann Wickman

Special to the Journal

The Friday Harbor High School Orca Bowl team participated in the 2017 competition last Sunday, and took second place overall at the University of Washington.

The winner of the 2017 National Ocean Sciences Bowl was Tacoma Science and Math Institut. They will join the other 24 teams who won in their regions at Oregon State University for the championship title.

“It’s a lot of fun,” says senior Corbin Williams, “it tests our knowledge of marine sciences while allowing us to compete head to head to be the best.”

Orca Bowl is a competition that is held annually by Washington Sea Grant and held at the University of Washington, where high school students all across Washington state come together for a day of friendly competition called the National Ocean Sciences Bowl.

The NOSB, based in Washington D.C., is a nonprofit program as part of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. The program has entered its 20th year this year.

The teams compete first in a round-robin, and then a double elimination round. The competitors are asked about all areas of marine studies, including ocean-related physics and chemistry.

The school’s “A-Team,” consisted of seniors Corbin Williams, Kendra Cliffton, and Kia Herko, and sophomore Joseph Kaden. Annamarie Thomas served as sophomore alternate. The A-Team was coached by Derek Smith and Sam Garson.

The A-Team entered the round-robin portion of the competition confident, but lost their first two rounds. Determined to come back from the two losses, the team came back and ended up winning their next two rounds. All of the matches consisted of two rounds of buzzer questions that are six minutes long. The matches also consisted of two Team Challenge Questions, where all group members had input on the answer.

According to Cliffton, the A-Team was in a three-way tie for second place when finishing the round-robin. “After the round-robin, we moved on to the single elimination round and won,” said Clifton. “It was an amazing feeling.”

The time had come for the team to move on to double elimination. Throughout the two rounds of double elimination, they went undefeated, and moved on to the final rounds.

While entering the final rounds, the team had no losses. Their first match in the finals was against Tacoma Science and Math Institute. Friday Harbor lost the first round of finals with a score of 44-43.

The team advanced to the final round of the final matches against SAMI, Friday Harbor came up just short after a massive comeback from the beginning of the round, and lost with a score of 58-56.

Kai Herko comments, “all in all it was a great day, we may not have come out on top, but we did really well.”