Aca Deca Aims to Repeat

Colleen O'brien, Staff Writer

After Campo’s Academic Decathlon team’s victory in last year’s county competition, people are wondering; can this year’s team repeat ? The team’s answer: a resounding YES.

Team senior Jacob Phillips said, “I think our team is more driven than we’ve ever been. We’ve got some stiff competition, but we want it a lot more than they do.”

Yet, with a big time commitment, competitors have to “want it.” Every week, the team’s 40 members meet 2 to 3 times after school, at least once at lunchtime, and once over the weekend.

In these meetings, ten subjects are divided up among the members. These subjects include Super Quiz, which, according to Phillips, is almost like a “game show meets a scantron test.” Other subjects include speech-making and English/Literature. Each group presents its assigned subject to everyone else on the team, efficiently spreading information.

With all this preparation, Paul Verbansky, Academic Decathlon advisor since 2005-2006, is confident that this year will be a great one, even with many new faces. “We did lose a lot of skilled competitors who graduated last year, but I do think we have a very good chance.”

According to team captain, senior Anastasia Fedorova, “Acalanes and Miramonte are our toughest competitors. It’s going to be really tough.”

Until 2010-2011, Acalanes had dominated the county competition four consecutive years. “Since Acalanes lost to us last year,” Fedorova said, “they really want to win.”

The Campo squad will measure its competition when it goes up against the other three schools in the district for the first time on October 6.

There are three of these “scrimmages” throughout the year in addition to a 2-day county competition and a 3-day state championship for the county winner.

“The scrimmages give us an idea of the competition,” Verbansky said, “but it’s the county that counts. If they do well it inspires us to work even harder.”

Last year’s victory ended Acalanes’ reign, and was Campo’s first since 2005. Verbansky was quick to praise his team’s well-deserved victory. “Winning in 2011 was a big deal. I’m very proud of my team.”

The one area for improvement, says Verbansky, is lack of awareness and participation. “We have over 40 kids involved but still not many people know about it.”