High school students compete in a battle of minds for marine biology

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Nearly 100 high school students from Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana gathered on the coast to see who knows the most about marine science.

Gulf Coast Research Laboratory hosted the annual Hurricane Bowl.

It was a competition of minds.

"We're here for Ocean Bowl," said high school students from Pensacola, FL Michelle Jones and Kimberlee Richards.

"Because I love marine science," said Long Beach high school senior Morgan Mckee.

It was a bittersweet day for senior Morgan Mckee, because this year is her last year participating in the Hurricane Bowl.

She said her team has been preparing for the competition all year.

"We study every day," said Mckee.

The competition is a rapid fire, quiz bowl style science competition focusing on ocean and freshwater sciences.

"Students are asked questions that pertain to ocean sciences including marine biology, geology, chemistry," said regional coordinator Beth Jones.

Jones said over the course of the competition, 18 teams of 5 students each take each other on through verbal and written quizzes.

It started in 1998.

"This year has been a great year. It's our largest competition ever," said Jones.

Teams involved in the bowl had different goals.

"To win," said Mckee.

"It was to not be in last place which we have achieved," said Richards.

As the two day competition came to a close, students said it's been a worthwhile experience.

"It's sad but I haven't cried yet. I might tonight if we don't win," said Mckee.

Many joined their team for the last time, while others looked forward to the future.

"I love science!" said Jones and Richards.

Poplarville High School got 1st place.

Ocean Springs High School came in 2nd place. Long Beach High School came in 3rd place. Rickards High School (in Florida) came in 4th place and Ovey Comeaux High School (in Louisiana) came in 5th place.

Poplarville High School will go onto nationals in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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