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Poplarville High School Team Places First in Ocean Sciences Hurricane Bowl

Tue, 02/08/2011 - 02:00pm | By: Martha Duvall

Poplarville High School Team A, (left to right) Becky Starke, Justin Williams, Shelby Ramming, coach Elizabeth Jones and Nigel Simmons, took first place at the annual Hurricane Bowl held at The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs. (Not photographed, team member Rob Merrell.) The team heads to Galveston, Texas in April to compete in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. (GCRL photo, Martha Duvall)

A different type of hurricane warning was in effect when a team of Poplarville High School students blew away its competition in the annual Hurricane Bowl contest at The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) in Ocean Springs, Miss.

Coached by Mel Hall and Elizabeth Jones, Poplarville “Team A” was comprised of captain Justin Williams, Becky Starke, Shelby Ramming, Nigel Simmons and Rob Merrell. The GCRL regional competition is part of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB®), which is a program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Poplarville winners, as well as winners from 24 other regional sites, will compete at the National Ocean Sciences Bowl in Galveston, Texas, April 29-May 1, 2011.

Each year GCRL's Marine Education Center plays host to 18 teams of high school students from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. The Hurricane Bowl is the central Gulf Coast competition and is a rapid-fire, question-and-answer contest focusing on ocean sciences.

Coastal Mississippi teams were big winners in the Hurricane Bowl with Long Beach High School “Team A” earning second place, Bay High School of  Bay St. Louis coming in third, Ocean Springs High School taking fourth place, and Long Beach High School “Team B” in fifth place.

Whites Creek High School of Whites Creek, Tenn., took home the Sportsmanship Award.

The Hurricane Bowl, as well as the national competition, includes question-and-answer “buzzer” rounds, team-challenge questions, educational field trips and social activities that encourage interaction among student peers and marine scientists. For more information on the competition or to view sample quiz questions, visit

GCRL's Marine Education Center is the lab's public education and outreach arm. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, GCRL focuses on sustainable coastal and marine resources, development of new marine technologies and the education of future scientists and citizens. The GCRL is home to the Department of Coastal Sciences, the Marine Education Center, the Center for Fisheries Research and Development and the Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center. More information can be found at