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AcaDec conquers Division II championship

After five months of study and practice, the campus Academic Decathlon (AcaDec) team saw their efforts come to fruition with a first place win in Division II at the Fresno County Academic Decathlon competition on Feb. 2, beating No. 2 Firebaugh by 431 points.

Viewed as a serious sport by many, the event gives students an opportunity to test their knowledge and communication skills against other schools. Members participate in 10 events, each based on subjects outlined at the beginning of the year.

?The kids who participate in AcaDec can?t just be smart,? Molly Sargent, AcaDec advisor said. ?They have to be interested in a wide range of things and be curious learners.?

An Acadec team is made up of 9 members, consisting of an equal number of A, B and C students. The team battles other schools in 10 academic subjects, including a Super Quiz. This year the topic revolved around the Civil War and was held in the Fresno State’s South Gym.

Besides taking first place in their division and 6th overall, members of the team also placed in individual categories. Brittany Lauber, ’08, earned 6 gold, 2 silver and a bronze medal in 10 subjects. She scored 7,702.1 points to lead all Eagle teammates, including the best score in the Super Quiz.

?As a senior, this was my last chance to participate in the class,? Lauber said. ?I thought it was a good opportunity to learn about a variety of things in-depth. I was very pleased with the results of the competition, both for myself and for the team as a whole.?

While FC won Division II, they also finished 6th overall among the 23 teams competing. In fact, FC defeated all Clovis schools entered and finished only 1,080 points behind Roosevelt High who finished 5th. However, according to Sargent, the FC team most likely would have finished 5th if C-member senior Michael Bowen had not been sick with the flu and did not attend the first Saturday’s competition.

Lauber’s score broke the FC Acadec record by over 500 points set last year by set by Will Hierholzer, ’06. Yet many on the team reached personal goals including senior Whitney Chessum.

?I am absolutely abysmal at math, so I was surprised that I improved so much,? Chessum said. ?I scored 100 points higher in math than last year, which felt really great. I was excited though to win a bronze medal in language and literature.?

While the class is an opportunity to earn college credits, the competition proves as intense as any sports play-offs.

?The atmosphere of the Super Quiz is intense because it is the only opportunity to compete, and some schools get really into it,? Lauber said. ?They bring their pep band, paint their chests, and yell for their team. It was really nerve-wracking, but also exciting.?

Besides a first place Division II triumph, nearly every campus participant medaled in an individual event. Senior Walter Scott earned 4 bronze medals, including one in the mathematics competition and the Super Quiz.

“I was really excited about how I did at the competition, especially as I had about a 5th grade calculator,” Scott said. “I joined AcaDec because of my interest in the Civil War. It was a great opportunity to learn and I think our team did really well.”

Both yearbook co-editors also won medals at the event. Senior Eleanor Wilhelm won two gold medals and junior Molly Griffin earned two silvers.

Other multiple winners include three seniors: Sean O’Neal’s 4 silver, Taylor Torrence’s 2 silver medals and Ryan Martens, who earned a gold medal in economics.

Edison High won the competition for the 12th straight year with 48,256 points, beating No. 2 University High by 3,784 points. The top five teams all came from Division I. Edison also earned the right to compete at the State level in March.

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