Yosemite wins 32nd county decathlon

The Badgers win their 21st consecutive title, advancing to the state competition in March

awileman@sierrastar.comFebruary 4, 2014 

Yosemite High School continued its academic dominance winning its 21st consecutive Academic Decathlon Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Madera South High School in Madera.

Yosemite's 16-member team was condensed in to nine members including three students from each of the three divisions—Honor, Scholastic, and Varsity levels — prior to Saturday's competition.

The team finished with a total of 35,051.9 points of a possible 65,4000, enough to claim this year's first prize and the right to compete in the upcoming state competition taking place March 21-23, in Sacramento.

The topic for this years decathlon was World War I in lieu of the 100-year anniversary of the start of the war.

A big portion of the Badgers points came Saturday when Yosemite took first place at the Super Quiz — a jeopardy style event were team members are given seven seconds to answer questions in an A, B, C testing format. Students answered questions from art, economics, literature, music, science and social sciences during the Super Quiz.

Leading up to Saturday's Super Quiz, students were required to take tests and answers questions in art, economics, language and literature, mathematics, music, science and social science. Participants were also required to perform and impromptu speech, write essays and complete and interview given by a panel of judges all of which we scored and combined to give the teams overall score.

Compared to previous years, this year presented a different test taking style during the competition as many of this year's events were taken on hand-held devises as part of a piloting program incorporated to give quicker results and expose students to the technologies of today. It was the first time in the competition's 32-year history hand-held computer devises were used to score answers in real-time.

The usage of hand-held devises offered the students of Madera County competing in this year's competition the opportunity to acclimate themselves to the devises prior to the state competition where every school will be required to answer using hand held devises.

"The Academic Decathlon entered the 21st Century by using technology as it had never been used before in this competition," said Cecilia Massetti, Ed.D., Madera County superintendent of schools. "All of the changes noted provided for an exceptional event."

Chawanakee Academy took second and Chowchilla Union High School took third. Other teams involved in the competition included Liberty High, Madera High and Madera County High.

Yosemite's Decathlon Coach Steve Browning said he is extremely proud of his students and always knew they had a good chance of winning the competition, especially the economics portion which Browning has spent years teaching.

"Economics is the only subject that does not change from year to year," Browning said. "Each year requires learning a new subject such as genetics or the literary response to WWI, but economics is simple vocabulary and manipulations of supply and demand."

On top of winning the overall event, Yosemite had the highest individual scorer throughout the decathlon. Senior Adam Scott personally scored 6,344.7 points in the ten different events giving him the highest score of any individual at the competition. Scott, along with the five other top scorers from each school received a $100 scholarship for winning top honors.

Scott says he is proud of his team and is looking forward to the state competition which will put their brains to the test.

"It was an incredible experience, I came there wanting to do my best and maybe earn a few medals I had no idea I would actually perform that well," Scott said. I could not have done it without my coach, he is an amazing person and just being there with the team was a wonderful experience."

Scott is interested in Aerospace Engineering and is hopeful to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz. He finished the competition with Gold in Art and Mathematics; Silver in Music, Science and Essay; and Bronze in Social Science.

"We are proud of all of our decathletes," said Massetti. "We wish Yosemite luck at the state competition and know they will represent Madera County well."

Members from Yosemite who will be competing in this year's state competition include Honors Division — Angela Du, Kenneth Jeffris, Adam Scott; Scholastic Division — Christen Cogdell, Tasha Dragoo, Azani Pusina; Varsity Division — Rachel Arroyo, Jonas Park, Greg Royse.

This year's state competition will be held in Sacramento and will include schools from all over the state of California.

The Madera County Academic Decathlon is county wide event and is made possible through donations from local businesses and community members.

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