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La Cañada High competes in ocean-sciences Surf Bowl

La Cañada High students competed against 11 other high school team in the 2016 Ocean Sciences Bowl at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge Saturday.

La Cañada High students competed against 11 other high school team in the 2016 Ocean Sciences Bowl at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge Saturday.

(Photo by Matt Sanderson)

La Cañada High School students competed against 11 teams from around the region on ocean-sciences knowledge in the 17th annual Los Angeles Surf Bowl at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Saturday.

After early wins in the morning Round Robin tournament, La Cañada’s team — comprising Daniel Oh, Mile Yun, Arjun Aron, Veronica Muller and Myles Chang — was eliminated during the afternoon double elimination rounds. It was La Cañada’s first year participating, says team coach and physics teacher Nate Fulmer.

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From questions about sea level rise to specific metals under the ocean floor, and from species of crab to altitudes of coral reef development, sea star die-off and design types of ship hulls, the competition had three elements: a Round Robin competition, critical-thinking-based team-challenge questions, and a double-elimination competition. Student teams compete nationwide, answering questions about biology, chemistry, geology and physics of the oceans, as well as navigation, geography and related history and literature.

La Cañada High students, from left, Myles Chang, Daniel Oh, Veronica Muller, Arjun Aron and Miles Yun, competed in the 2016 National Sciences Bowl at Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Feb. 27, 2016.

La Cañada High students, from left, Myles Chang, Daniel Oh, Veronica Muller, Arjun Aron and Miles Yun, competed in the 2016 National Sciences Bowl at Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Feb. 27, 2016.

(Photo by Matt Sanderson)

“We’ve been off to a shaky start,” said Oh, the LCHS team captain, when La Cañada was facing Mark Keppel High School. “We’re getting some questions wrong, but we’re also getting used to it.”

La Cañada defeated Mark Keppel 77-41. However, they immediately struggled to get things started against Temple City High School and lost 29-82.

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According to Fulmer, the students had been preparing all school year for the bowl, and they decided among themselves who would compete.

“They quizzed each other,” Fulmer said. “We had our own set of buzzers.”

In Saturday’s competition, Santa Monica High School took first place, followed by University High School in second place and Woodbridge High School in third. The winner travels to Morehead City, North Carolina for the National Ocean Sciences Bowl in April.

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Matt Sanderson is a contributing writer.

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