In its first year and against stiff competition, the county’s
academic decathlon team brought back three individual medals from
the California Academic Decathlon in Modesto.
In its first year and against stiff competition, the county’s academic decathlon team brought back three individual medals from the California Academic Decathlon in Modesto.

The team of San Benito High School students participated in three days of competition Friday, Saturday and Sunday and did well for its first year, said coach Amy Brown.

“I’m definitely pleased in our first year,” she said. “… These are the best high schools from each county. We can’t expect, in our first year, to dominate.”

Sophomore Crystal Achilles won a gold medal for her speech on why shopping should be considered a sport and a silver in interview for the honor category in Division III.

“She had a stellar speech. I knew she was going to win,” Brown said, adding that she’s learned from past competitions that judges like light-hearted speeches.

Achilles said she was “very surprised” at winning the medals.

“I knew they went well, but I didn’t know they went that well,” she said. “There were people there that won seven (medals), so I was surprised.”

Junior Valerie Morgan took the gold in math in the varsity category for Division III.

The individual awards were given to the top three students in each division in each category – honor, scholastic and varsity. Students on the honor team usually have a GPA of 3.5-4.0, scholastic 3.0-3.5 and varsity 3.0 and under.

Because it was SBHS’s first time in the competition, the team was placed in Division III.

Students participated in 10 subject areas – math, economics, social science, music, art, language and literature, super quiz, essay, speech and interview. The last three are more subjective and are graded by judges while the first seven are objective – the competitors take multiple choice written tests, except for the super quiz, which is held in front of an audience.

The team placed 44th out of 50 in overall team scores with a 26,570.6 points out of a possible 60,000. It placed 39th out of 46 in the overall super quiz. Achilles was the team’s highest-scoring member with 5,099 out of a possible 10,000.

“Some high schools didn’t win any awards. … You could definitely see the disappointment in the students who didn’t win awards on our team,” Brown said. “You reap what you sow.”

Achilles said she thinks the team will do better next year since the students now have experience and know what and how to study. Despite the group’s inexperience, this year’s competition was fun, she said.

“It was a blast. It was really challenging,” Achilles said. “There were a lot of teams there that were stressing out. They were studying at night. We just talked and had a lot of fun.”

Next year, the district wants 25 students in the academic decathlon class, which will again be held during zero period – 7:20 to 8:22 p.m. Of the 12 students in the class this year, nine plan to come back, including Achilles. Brown said she will have to recruit more actively to spread the word and get students enrolled.

Moorpark High School from Ventura County earned 49,910 points for first place in the overall team competition, scoring the highest in the nation, Brown said. The Division I team will compete in the United States Academic Decathlon April 23-26 in Erie, Penn.

For more information, go to

Previous article‘Curse’ hits Baler softballers again
Next articleStink ends over emergency sewer pond lawsuit
A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here