Standish-Sterling sending team to Great Lakes Bowl


STANDISH — For the sixth year in a row, Standish-Sterling is sending a team of students down to Ann Arbor Feb. 9 as part of the Great Lakes Knowledge Bowl.

The team consists of six students this year: freshman Joe Gehlmann, sophomores Connor Patrick and Nicole Goltz, junior Jacob Wright and seniors Duane Bean and Jorden LaRose. Goltz and LaRose are serving as alternates, with the other four will compete against 13 other schools in the competition.

The team’s coach, Jennifer Gehlmann, said the team participates in several knowledge competitions throughout the year, the Great Lakes Bowl is unique in that it focuses exclusively on the oceans, lakes, and marine science.

She expects the team to do well in the competition this year, though she acknowledged the heavy hitters, Lake Orion and Dexter High School, are the favorites. Dexter has won every year since 2005, Gehlmann said.

“We hope to do well,” she said. “All of the students are interested in science, which is a change from last year.”

The students have been practicing since October, running mock competitions using the buzzer system purchased a few years ago through donations from the Standish Lions Club, Kiwanis Club, and Grace Episcopal Church.

Gehlmann said her team will also take a tour to the University of Michigan’s marine architecture lab while they are in Ann Arbor.

“The students are real excited about the trip and the lab. Last year, we toured the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab in Ann Arbor and they got to talk with different types of researchers,” she said. “The Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering laboratory at U of M is really interesting. It’s where underwater robotic vehicles are designed.”

According to Kristin Kracke, communications manager with the Consortium of Ocean Leadership — the Great Lakes Bowl’s organizing group — the competition is open to schools in Michigan and Ohio. Competitors will be tested in multiple-choice quick answer segments, and through team challenge short essay questions.

The winning team will compete against 24 other regional champion schools in the 16th annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on April 18-21.

Sander Robinson, an environmental scientist and coordinator for the Great Lakes Bowl, told the Independent last February the event started in 1998 to help promote oceanography, biology, and marine studies to students in the state, and across the nation in the broader program.

“At first it was just local teams around Ann Arbor and Southeast Michigan,” Robinson said. Since then, an expanded advertising campaign to schools has seen participants from across both peninsulas.

He added the last place team receives the “quagga mussel award,” typically some sort of prize to help them practice and improve for the next year’s competition.


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