County Champs Look to 3-Repeat at State


AcaDeca members Katie Coates, Will Coates, and Uma Gaffney celebrate after winning the county competition.

Ryan Lansing, Staff Writer

After taking the title on January 24 in the county championships, 9 of the top Academic Decathlon team members will be moving on to the state competition to be held on March 19-22.  As defending small school champions, some of the Cougars are eager to carry on what has become an annual tradition of scholastic domination.

Junior competitor Holden Kolner said, “[How well we do] really depends on how much effort we put in now. We pulled through at county, but state is a whole new level, what with all the Los Angeles schools. I think that we have done it before, and I think that we can do it again.”

While the team does convene for practice session, there is also plenty of work done by each individual on his or her own in preparation for the tournament. Kolner said, “A lot of it is personal since we still only meet on Mondays, Thursdays, and Sundays, so it’s really on each member to read the packets, read the works, take notes, that sort of thing.”

The AcaDeca team has become an powerhouse over the last few years, and with the success has come a level of expectation and pressure. Freshman competitor Ashley Zhang added, “I don’t feel that there is pressure from other people, but I do put pressure on myself.”

While high schools from across the state may be sending their own academic heavy hitters, the Campolindo squad remains confident. Kolner said, “We have got a good strong team as always, and I hope we can do it.”

In addition to facing teams from schools of equal size, the competitors are also ranked agains the entire state.  This puts the Cougars, with a modest campus population under 1300 at a disadvantage, especially against the 5000+ schools typical in the south.

Co-captain Uma Gaffney said, “We’ll do alright, but not place super high. Hopefully in terms of medium schools, we will keep our 2 year record of the top.”