In a dramatic turn of events at the 12th annual Lake Sturgeon Bowl, perennial champ Marshfield High School was knocked out of the running for first place, making way for a new set of faces in the No. 1 spot–Spring Valley High School, which is located in Pierce County in the northwestern part of the state.
24 teams competed on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the regional qualifying round of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB). The winning team is comprised of Captain Sarah Sortedal, along with Claire Arneson, Ashley Emen, Rex Gould and Tyler O’Keefe. Sophie Koch is the alternate.
In an earlier interview with a local newspaper, Spring Valley Coach Michele Huppert said, “These are amazing kids. They have been working together since October, studying college-level oceanography before and after school three to six hours each week.”
In the previous five competitions, Spring Valley has come in second to Marshfield. This year’s second-place finishers were from Sauk Prairie High School. Appleton West came in third place and Luxemburg-Casco fourth. It was Luxemburg-Casco High School that defeated Marshfield in an earlier-round stunner guaranteeing that the reigning national champions did not even make it to the finals. They do, however, retain the honor of having won four national titles from 2009-12.
Spring Valley will represent Wisconsin at the April 18-21 NOSB. The trip to that competition constitutes the first-place prize. In so many previous years, as second-place winners, Spring Valley won a Lake Michigan research cruise with University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences Researcher Carmen Aguilar.
At the Lake Sturgeon Bowl Award Ceremony Aguilar joked that she would miss taking the Spring Valley team on their “annual Lake Michigan trip.”
The NOSB is in its 16th year. It is managed by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, representing leading oceanographic institutions, universities and aquaria. The 2013 national competition takes place in Milwaukee, which provides an opportunity to showcase the world’s largest freshwater system.
The Lake Sturgeon Bowl is sponsored in part by the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute.