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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

News from the URI Graduate School of Oceanography . . .

Cranston West Students Enjoy the Perks of Being the
Best in Math and Ocean Science

Narragansett, R.I. -- May 7, 2001 -- It was a picture-perfect day for sailing when the top five teams from the National Ocean Sciences Bowl regional competition, dubbed the Quahog Bowl, recently got together for an afternoon trip aboard the Continental Sloop Providence. The trip, donated by the Providence Maritime Heritage Foundation which operates the Sloop Providence, was just one of the prizes connected with the academically challenging and prestigious competition for high school students.

On board were the winners of the Quahog Bowl from Cranston West High School who also placed a very respectable third at the national tournament in Miami in April. Joining them were another team from Cranston West, who came in second in the regional competition, the third-place team from West Warwick High School, the fourth-place team from Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut, and the fifth-place team from Narragansett High School.
Before boarding the Sloop Providence, the Cranston West teams spent the morning touring Sonalysts, the Waterford, Connecticut-based multimedia production facility. Locally, they will also tour the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport and spend an afternoon aboard the URI coastal research vessel Cap’n Bert.

This August, the winning Cranston West team will visit Catalina Island off the coast of southern California, the team’s prize for placing third in the national competition. Unlike the summer tourists, the students will stay on the University of Southern California’s Wrigley Institute campus where they will kayak in and around the coves and natural caves lining the coast, snorkel with adolescent tiger sharks near the research facility docking area, and assist researchers by tagging fish.

The five students who traveled to Miami to represent Rhode Island in the national finals were team captain Joe Allen, Michael Neirinckx, Rick Shideler, Nicole Stockley, and Emily Shumchenia. All are seniors, except Stockley, a sophomore. They were accompanied by their teacher coach Steven Krous.

During the trip aboard the Sloop Providence, the Cranston West team spoke enthusiastically about the national competition in Miami.

"The competition was intense," said team captain Allen. "The entire process was a huge commitment, but with the huge commitment comes huge rewards. We’ve gotten very close as a result of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. In fact, we still meet once a week as a group."

Allen, who will be going to URI in September as an ocean engineering student, explained that since last September until the competition in April, the group met to practice after school for two hours, three days a week.

Neirinckx, who will be attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the fall to major in computer science, said he loved Miami. "We went to the beach and we had a lot of fun, but the competition was the best.

The other senior members of the team will also be heading to college in the fall. Emily Shumchenia will be attending URI as a pharmacy major and Rich Shideler will major in biology at Providence College.

They all gave high marks to their coach Steve Krous who attended their practices and went with them to the national competition in Miami.

Organized by the URI Office of Marine Programs, the 2001 Quahog Bowl was hosted by the URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) in collaboration with Mystic Aquarium, a major sponsor.

Patterned after the National Science Bowl, the National Ocean Sciences Bowl was inaugurated in 1998 to provide a forum for students who excel in math and science to receive national recognition for their diligence and talent while broadening their awareness and understanding of the oceans. Federal sponsors of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Office of Naval Research, the Oceanographer of the Navy, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, Anteon Corporation, the National Sea Grant College Program, and the Center for Marine Conservation.

Contact: Lisa Cugini, (401) 874-6642,

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