This past February, five Colonels struck out in continuing the success of their predecessors in winning the annual National Oceans Sciences Bowl, but still represented Ledyard strong in Colorado. The Colonels who attended were chosen out of a pool of sixteen students to compete in a district event representing Ledyard High School, pushing them to their limits on knowledge, speed, and long responses. What was at stake? A chance to compete at the national level Ocean Bowl held in Boulder, Colorado.
In the 2016-17 school year, Ledyard’s Quahog Bowl team proved they were better than the rest. This year with only one returning member, junior Eric Banach, the Ledyard team was playing against the odds, relying on quick learning and skill rather than experience to challenge the other 15 teams in the competition. This play-in event consisted of a primary round of buzzer questions between teams in a round robin format with four possible answers, each member receiving one question. The second round was composed of multiple team challenge questions, where every member could participate in answering a question. This is followed by a second round of the buzzer questions in the same format. Lastly, teams face-off using the whole previously described format except this time, in elimination rounds. Captain Eric Banach led the team (seniors Will Burns, Lauryn Lu, and Matt Blendermann, and sophomore Josephine Mitchell) to a 1st place finish in the local Quahog Bowl. This opened them up for a spot at the national level Ocean Sciences competition in Colorado held over spring break.
These underdogs started off the trip to the national tournament in fashion, with a classy ride in a limousine, (Joshua’s Limousine Service) to Bradley Airport. Teacher David Bednarz said the reason the competition would be held in Colorado this year was due to their “great weather research facilities” which was the main theme for the competition. Students began the National Ocean Sciences Bowl by constructing a two-page science expert briefing paper containing an abstract 3-5 sources to back up their assertions in the paper. They then participated in a mock congressional hearing and presented their scientific recommendations on a piece of legislation. Bednarz said the most stressful part of the competition was when “students had to read their summaries and then respond to an on the fly question…having only 30 seconds to think and 45 seconds to answer.” Students then participated in a competition much like the Quahog Bowl, consisting of a series of buzzer rounds and team questions. Despite their determination and hard work, the Colonels lost in this part of the competition, falling to teams that Bednarz says were “more highly prepared for the gamesmanship and speed of answering than our team.”
With no reason to hang their heads, the Colonels finished out the trip with some fun visiting Rocky Mountain National Park and mucking for invertebrates in Boulder Creek before returning home to Ledyard.
Trevor Hutchins, Staff Writer
Senior Trevor Hutchins is a staff writer for the 2017-2018 Colonel. He is one of the few three sport athletes at LHS and is President of Key Club. Trevor is also an avid Avatar watcher, an amateur guitar player, and can “whip up an irresistible secret sauce in the kitchen.”