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Ketchikan takes top prize at 22nd annual Tsunami Bowl

Seward once again welcomed high school students from across Alaska for the 22nd annual Alaska Regional National Ocean Bowl competition, known as the Alaska Tsunami Bowl.

Photo courtesy of Wolf Kurtz

The event, hosted by the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and held at Seward High School town brought 17 teams together last weekend to test their knowledge of ocean science against each other. 

After round after round of head to head competition, the Ketchikan High School Sabretoothed Salmons took home first place, earning them a spot at nationals in Washington D.C. later this year. 

“I feel like I’m in my bed still dreaming,” said Laura Sherrill of her team’s victory. “Am I going to wake up soon? It feels so unreal.”

All of the teams have spent their school year preparing for the competition, which includes research papers, presentations and quiz style round robin matches. 

Photo courtesy of Wolf Kurtz

The National Ocean Sciences Bowl was created by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership in order to address a gap in environment and earth sciences in public education. NOSB aims to introduce high school students to and engage them in ocean science, prepare them for STEM careers and help them become environmental stewards.

The weekend was marked by tough competition paired with sportsmanship. 

“These kids are really dedicated to science,” said regional coordinator Jennifer Elhard, who has been working with the Tsunami Bowl since 2003. “There were a lot of February commitments across the state this year and they made the choice to be here.”

A group of nearly 40 volunteers also made the commitment to be at Seward High School last weekend, Elhard said.

“Every year is stressful, this is the only year I wasn’t totally beside myself,” she said. “We really rely on volunteers. We had a lot of great volunteers this year, but if we really want to keep this thing going, we need people to step up and volunteer.”