AcaDeca Names That Tune


Mikhail Vasilyev, Staff Writer

Academic Decathlon’s 1st tournament of the season took place in the library on November 14. Campolindo competed against Acalanes while Las Lomas, who was scheduled to participate, failed to show up. Out of 40 competitors, 6 Cougars received ribbons for placing, an improvement over their practice tournament performance on October 13.

The competition consisted of 2 multiple choice tests which students had 30 minutes to complete. The first test addressed WWII era music: students had to answer questions based on the ten-second song fragments that they heard. The second test was on nuclear chemistry and the history of the Manhattan Project.

There are 3 levels of competition in Academic Decathlon determined by Grade Point Average: Varsity, Scholastic, and Honors.  Varsity members have GPAs of 2.99 or lower, Scholastic competitors have GPAs of 3.75 to 3.0, and Honors members have GPAs above 3.75.

In the Varsity category, juniors Evan Harberson and David Tran placed 3rd in music and science respectively. Senior Benett Coates placed 2nd in Music and tied in 3rd place with sophomore Caleb Elizar in science for the Scholastic category. In the Honors division,  junior and co-captain Athya Uthayakumar placed 3rd in music and science, senior and captain Zoe Portnoff placed 2nd in music, and sophomore Albert Chen placed 2nd in science, only missing 4 questions.

Uthayakumar was proud of her team’s success: “We did much better than last time. Our scores surely improved and we had more people receive medals. I can see the work that the team is putting in, and their studying is really playing off. Their motivation is incredible, and I think that we are capable of doing amazingly in states.”

However, one competitor will be difficult to beat. Senior Rajiv Govindjee from Acalanes placed 1st in both science and music, missing only 7 questions in total.

Coach Paul Verbanszy said, “Rajiv is definitely going to be a challenge for us. He has a lot of experience in AcaDeca, but we have a lot of students who want to and can defeat him.”

“Learning the WWII Era music and science was very interesting, and the success of the team was worth the studying that we put in,” said Portnoff.

The next 2 units covered by Aca-Deca will be the economics and social science of the time period, and the next tournament will be in a month. “These next units will be very exciting, and I’m hoping that my team does well and prepares to win in the next tournament,” Portnoff said.