Team from STEM High School in New London wins Quahog Bowl

Groton — A team from the Science and Technology Magnet High School of Southeastern Connecticut beat out students from 15 other schools to win the 22nd annual Quahog Bowl, a quiz-bowl style academic competition that tests teams of students nationwide in ocean-related topics across the disciplines of biology, chemistry, policy, physics and geology.

"Observe the Ocean; Secure the Future" was the theme of this year's competition at the University of Connecticut's Avery Point campus.

This is the first time the New London team has won in the six years it has participated in the contest. A team from Ledyard High School won the regional competition in 2017 and 2018.

The team of Christopher Bowens, Aiden Desjardins, Alex Matthews, Derek Raymond and Michael Reilly was one of two teams from the magnet school who competed. They were coached by Charles Mulligan.

“To see it all come together when you work with a group of kids is just overwhelming,” Mulligan said. “This group was so insanely talented. It was a matter of steering the ship more so than lecturing information to them. This group is so driven and so motivated.”

He said the group met weekly to get ready for the contest, and each member of the team did a lot of work on their own. “They did a lot of independent study,” he said. “These guys took a huge sense of responsibility onto themselves.”

"Our school has been trying for years to get here," said Michael Reilly, a junior on the team. He said he's already looking forward to competing again next year.

Captain Alex Matthews also is a junior and will be able to compete again next year. He's eager for the challenge awaiting the team in April. “Now we’ll be able to go to the nationals and compete again,” he said. “It’s such a fun competition.”

Magnet school Director Laurelle Texidor congratulated the team after their win, sharing high-fives and taking cellphone photos of the students.

A total of 16 teams from Connecticut and Rhode Island participated in this year's event, one of 24 regional contests across the country in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. Other local teams participating included one from Norwich Free Academy, one from Ledyard High and two from Waterford High. The New London team defeated students from Coginchaug Regional High School in Durham during the final round to win the competition.

Connecticut Sea Grant, a partnership of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and UConn Avery Point, organizes and hosts the annual Quahog Bowl regional competition.

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