The Kodiak High School team received the top presentation award at the 2015 Tsunami Bowl for the second year in a row.
At the Tsunami Bowl, teams of five students compete in three separate areas: quizzes, the research paper, and a presentation about the research, all on the subject of ocean size.
Kodiak’s five-person Arctic Asteroids team was comprised of senior Annie Looman, juniors Devin Shannon-Aguirre and Lance Peterson, Sophomore Lars Bodnar, and Freshman Liz Spivey.
The competition is extra-curricular, so students work after class and on weekends to prepare, about 50 hours not including the weekends.
“It is always a big challenge for them to commit the time and energy it takes to prepare,” said coach Switgard Duesterloh.
The result of all that work was a weekend competition Feb. 6-8 where the Arctic Asteroid team were quizzed on their knowledge and presented their research for a paper titled “A Sustainability Plan for the Arctic with a Focus on Diatoms.”
The Kodiak team didn’t receive a super high score on the paper, but the presentation on their research drew high marks.
“I thought that we wrote a very good, very convincing paper that got our point across and took a brand new look at issues in the Arctic,” Shannon-Aguirre said. “But when they graded it, they apparently wanted something completely different.”
When the students presented the paper, they had to each speak an equal amount of time and answer questions from the audience, including difficult ones asked by other teams.
“All the teams are in the audience as well as the coaches, and some teams ask questions to try to make the team stumble,” said coach Jane Eisemann. “They have to handle that and if they don’t know the answer, they have to handle it in a way that doesn’t detract from the presentation.”
Looman, the team captain who was also chosen as the most valuable player for the Kodiak team, enjoyed the presentation part because she said she was confident in her public speaking.
Although the team received first place for their presentation, the quiz segments were more difficult.
“It was like Jeopardy but more stressful,” Looman said. Only four students can participate at one time in each quiz segment, but as team captain, Looman had to participate in every segment.
“They have the weirdest questions,” Looman said. “The weirdest short answer was, ‘What state has a wooden fish carving in its public square and what type of fish is it?’ Anything is fair game.”
The correct answer was Massachusetts and cod, and Looman managed to guess correctly.
“I had a friend who was on the team last year who graduated, and she was telling me a story about her first year in the Tsunami Bowl about a golden cod in front of a Massachusetts courtroom,” Looman said. “So I took a guess because cod is big over there.”
Although the Kodiak team was eliminated from the main quiz competition without placing high, they participated in the consolation bowl and won all four of their matches to take first place in that bowl.
Kodiak placed ninth overall in the competition out of 19 teams.
The winner of the Tsunami Bowl, the Mat-Tsunamis from Mat-Su Career and Technical High School, will compete against winners from all other regions at the National Ocean Sciences Bowl in Mississippi in April.
Julie Herrmann is a staff reporter at the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Contact her at 486-3227 ext. 627.