South Team Sends Ripples Through Regional Ocean Bowl Competition

By Lelina Chang
On Saturday, Mar. 3, South grabbed third place at the Regional Ocean Bowl Competition. Seniors Brian C., Eve Matthaey, Lindsay Charlop, junior Lauren Shum and sophomore Joe K. competed against teams from all over Long Island at Stony Brook University. Each of South’s winning team members walked away with a certificate and $500.
The team was ecstatic yet completely surprised by their victory because this was the first time South competed at Ocean Bowl in several years. “I don’t know who was more surprised; us for having gotten so far or everyone else who couldn’t believe that we, a rookie team, got third,” said Joe K.
Participants were required to have a wide knowledge base of oceanography, including chemical reactions in ocean water, special currents, marine policies, geology, geography, and biology. Ocean Bowl is a “Jeopardy-style” competition consisting of questions read aloud by a moderator and players rushing to buzz in the right answer—W, X, Y, or Z.
According to team members, mentor and adviser Dr. James Truglio maintained a cool, composed façade throughout the entire competition. Matthaey said, “Dr. T always plays it cool. He leans back in his chair and balances on the back two legs during each round, but when we won the game that put us in the semifinals, I heard a ‘plunk!’ as his chair fell forward onto all four legs. Other than that, you might not even notice he was watching the game.”
Since it was the team’s first year, Dr. Truglio did not know what to expect but had faith in the team and hoped for the best. He attributes the team’s success to a combination of studying, key players, random guessing, and luck. “Knowing the information is not enough in these fast-paced buzzer style events. One must be confident and buzz in the middle of a question at the risk of losing points…Our team is especially good at buzzing early and getting the questions correct,” he said.
According to Matthaey, Brian C. was their key player.  He is very knowledgeable in the field of oceanography; he raises his own fish and previously worked at an aquarium.
Although three seniors will be leaving next year, Dr. Truglio believes that  Joe K. and Shum will be able to lead the team. Joe K. echoed Dr. Truglio’s optimism, stating, “I am reasonably confident that we can grab first place next year, and I just want to encourage other people, especially underclassmen, to try out for it. We need to maintain Great Neck’s reputation.”
Filled with high spirits, the team plans to maintain a positive outlook for next year and to use the money they won to have a celebratory dinner.