Entering the Los Angeles County Arboretum for this year's Nature Bowl competition, the fifth-grade team from Welby Way Magnet School knew it had a lot of hard work ahead.
The Canoga Park school is a veteran of more than 10 Nature Bowls, and the students knew what kind of scores they had to produce to win the event sponsored by the Department of Water and Power.
Even before it was Welby Way's turn to compete, McKibben Elementary School in Whittier had earned a whopping 225 points, 10 points more than Welby scored last year to tie for first place.
But the Welby Way students earned 235 points to win the top prize.
The Nature Bowl, held as part of the Los Angeles Environmental Education Fair, attracted 20 schools throughout the county this year to the Arcadia facility.
Welby Way team members were captain Denise Lau, Mathew Kim, Laura Descher, Eric Solis and Mayank Bhatter, along with alternates Paige Seegan and Jennifer Smuckler. They were coached by Carmen Dean, Adria Metson and Linda Weissler.
The team won the Nature Bowl trophy, which will remain at Welby Way for a year, and $300 to buy science materials.
Coaches credited the Welby Way win to good old-fashioned teamwork.
"The team worked really really hard and studied," Paige said. "They just put their minds to it and did it."