Oceans cover over 70% of our planet. They provide Americans with more than 4.8 billion pounds of food a year (according to NOAA) and are one of the main global drivers of our world’s climate. As of the last census in 2010, 39% of the United States’ population lived on the coast (also according to NOAA), but despite how important our oceans are, and how close so many of us live to them, very few of us know much about them.

But this isn’t the case for a select group of students who compete in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. Each year, thousands of students across the country compete against the best and brightest to identify the country’s most knowledgeable students in ocean sciences!

Having recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, NOSB has quite the history of great schools that have participated and won the National Championship. But in all those years, a handful of schools have continually shown their expertise in the ocean sciences by showing up again and again in the winner’s circle, overcoming great challenges from new competitors and seasoned teams alike.

With schools all over the United States letting students out for summer vacation, the last thing on most people’s minds is the start of the fall academic competition season. However, for the dedicated few, the summer provides the perfect opportunity to gain an advantage over their competitors. Throughout the next few months, leading National Ocean Sciences Bowl teams will be hitting the books, in the hopes of getting a leg up on their competition for the coming year.

While many of the participating teams exhibit great skills in this stressful, buzzer-beater competition, there are a few teams in particular that ICS thinks will be the teams to beat this coming competition year. Here are our top 3 based on recent performances:


The Teams to Beat


(1) Santa Monica High School.

The most obvious team to pay attention to is the winner of the 2017 national competition in Corvallis, Oregon. After many months of preparation, it was ultimately Santa Monica High School from California that took home the title. This wasn’t the first time Santa Monica High School placed in the national competition either. A year earlier, in 2016, they took home the 3rd place trophy, and back in 2012 they were in the winner’s circle with 5th place. This begs the big question, will Santa Monica High be able to defend their title?


(2) Boise High School

Another strong contender going into the 2018 NOSB season is the team from Boise High School out of Boise, Idaho. They have their eyes set on the top spot for 2018, and definitely have the creds to back up a run for the top! Within the last six years, they are the only team to place first two separate times at the National competition, having done so in 2014 and then again the following year, in 2015. While they did not have a strong showing this past year, they did manage to hit the winner’s circle at 5th place in 2016. This rising and falling action could represent the coming and going of experienced students from the team, which could also mean this might be a strong year for the Boise team as the more inexperienced students from the previous 2 years have become more seasoned for 2018.


(3) Marshfield High School.

To round out the top three teams we're keeping an eye on for the 2018 NOSB season, we have to take a look at Marshfield High School from Marshfield, WI. Coached by Paul Herder, this team has shown great consistency in performance regardless of their strongest team members graduating. Having won the National competition in 2012, Marshfield has placed 3rd or above in four of the last six years at the National level. Even more interesting, in both 2016 and 2017, they barely lost out on taking home the National title and had to settle with accepting just 2nd place. Perhaps this coming year is the year they return to glory. Their strength with consistent showings in the top three the past three years certainly makes us think they are one of the top contenders!


Only time will tell how things actually unfold, but one thing is for certain: the 2018 season is going to be an interesting year for the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. The excitement begins next February, but teams are already signing up to take on the challenge!