Marietta students compete in annual PetroBowl in Denver

oil pump with clouds

Five Marietta College students recently traveled to Denver to compete in the annual PetroBowl national tournament in Denver.

PetroBowl is a Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) sponsored event where teams from schools from across the nation compete against each other by correctly answering questions about the practice of petroleum engineering as well as current events and the history of the industry.

Brain Raiff ’17 (Galena, Ohio), Katie Plas ’17 (Sardis, Ohio), Kali Miller ’18 (Carlton, Pennsylvania), Trevor Mescher ’18 (Versailles, Ohio) and Thomas Kimmins ’20 (Copley, Ohio) competed against other petroleum engineering students from schools including Arizona State University, Florida State University, North Dakota University and Montana Tech.

“All of the questions are petroleum based and range from petroleum history to technical material that we learn in class while at Marietta,” said Raiff, president of the student chapter of SPE at Marietta.

Within their six-team pool, Marietta defeated Arizona State, Florida State and North Dakota. Though they were beat by Kansas, who went on to place 4th in the competition, Marietta placed 9th out of 24 teams, missing tournament play by one spot.

Such a competition required the Marietta competitors to draw on knowledge learned in classes as well as stay up-to-date on the industry.

“Being part of the team challenges you to remember the minutiae of each professor’s lecture and then try to be the fastest person to answer the question,” Raiff said. “On top of that, you have to study petroleum history and have a working knowledge of how the industry has come to be. I believe that knowledge is important for every engineer to possess.”

Attending this year’s PetroBowl offered the Marietta team the chance to not only test their petroleum engineering know-how but to interact and engage with other burgeoning engineers.

“The most enjoyable aspect of this trip was getting to interact with other students from different universities,” Raiff said. “Oftentimes, while studying at Marietta you can feel like you’re in a bubble. However, going to PetroBowl and sharing experiences with other students makes you realize there is a whole community of people, of engineers, who speak the same ‘language’ as you.  You get to talk about the tough classes, or about internship experiences, or about what the general state of the industry is. It gives you a taste of the real world when you are not only talking to ‘Marietta engineers’ but also ‘Oklahoma engineers’ and ‘North Dakota engineers.’ ” 

The impressive showing by the Marietta students was the result of persistent hard work, with practice sessions held one to two times a week.

Though Raiff said the team was happy to see their hard work pay off this year, the group is already actively recruiting freshmen, sophomores and juniors in the hopes of returning to the national competition next year and placing even higher.