Determined Hawks repeat as Manatee Bowl champions


Viera High students won the Manatee Bowl for the second consecutive year. Pictured are Jon White, the president and CEO of Consortium for Ocean Leadership, left; Morgan Woodard, coach; Oscar Sang, coach; Zack Chace; Cameron Shearer; Maggie Zendehrouh; Hannah Howe; Alyssa Hofmann; and Touri White, the regional coordinator.

VIERA VOICE Courtesy of Debbie Tweedie


They came into the competition thinking they had something to prove.

And prove themselves, they did.

Following up last year’s first-ever victory at the Manatee Bowl, Viera High School’s ocean science academic team made it back-to-back titles by dominating the field at the competition hosted by the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science last month.

With the win, students Hannah Howe, Alyssa Hofmann, Maggie Zendehrouh, Zack Chace and Cameron Shearer qualified for the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. That event is set to take place April 19 to 22 at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Viera’s A team finished ninth at the national competition last year after defeating the Viera B team in the finals of the Manatee Bowl.

While the B team did not return to the finals of this year’s tournament, the A team steamrolled through to repeat as champions in the event, where students test their ocean science knowledge through buzzer-style, multiple-choice questions and open-ended, team challenge questions.

“We definitely had to protect our title,” Hofmann said.

As if getting to the nationals again wasn’t motivation enough, members of the team wanted to show that last year’s Manatee Bowl victory was no fluke and that Viera students work hard and were deserving of the title.

“I was on the A team last year as well, and I was on a team with super brilliant people, so I feel like it wasn’t as much of a surprise when we made it to nationals. But it was our first time, so we were all super excited,” Howe said.

“This year, I feel like we definitely felt we had something to prove when we went there. … I was really glad when we were able to do it.”

Chace, whose older brother, Brennan, was on Viera’s B team last year, said he enjoyed the competition.

“It was fun,” he said. “It was more fun than I thought it would be.”

The students studied three days a week for the competition and will be working hard again to prepare for the nationals.

“I think as far as teamwork goes, and spreading out the talent equally on the team, I think we’re better in that way,” Howe said. “Last year, we had powerhouses. This year, where one person may lack knowledge in one category, another person makes up for that. I think we all really fit well together in that way.”