Opinion: Blackhawk Academic Decathalon success shows sport’s unique blend of competition and camraderie


One of the most underappreciated sports at Citrus Valley High School and Redlands East Valley High School is Academic Decathlon. Similar to speech and debate but with more of a focus on information mastery, they study a specific topic each year. This year, Citrus Valley’s tenth year participating, the topic was the 1960s.

Ahmed Syed, a senior at Citrus Valley, waves his pencil in the traditional victory celebration after getting a question right during the Super Quiz. (Photos via http://photos.sbcss.k12.ca.us/)

Deca, which means ten in Latin, stands for the ten events that each team competes in: science, social science, literature, art, music, mathematics, economics, speech, interview, and essay. The competition works similar to speech and debate in that they attend competitions at other schools and compete against teams from all over the country. The first week, which began on Jan. 26, competitors wrote an essay, gave a speech and interviewed. The second week, which commenced on Feb. 2, they took tests in the rest of the subjects, and the event came to an epic conclusion with the super quiz.

Afterward, the competitors went to a banquet on Feb. 6. This year, Citrus Valley got 9th place out of 46 teams. This was due partially to Prashanth Mohan, who received 1st place in Economics and Science and 3rd in Mathematics. Rancho Cucamonga and Redlands High School also did extremely well, earning new county records for high scores and taking the first place slot from Chaffey High School for the first time in many years.

Rancho Cucamonga High School swept the competition, dethroning 8-time winners Chaffey high school and setting a new district record at 54,000 points.
(Photos via http://photos.sbcss.k12.ca.us/)

Academic sports like these are frequently overlooked by possible competitors; however, if one seriously plans to pursue a career in the sciences, they may be interested in participating. The format of the banquet is good practice for the ceremonies and the unique camaraderie of academia.

Even if one does not plan on such an illustrious career, they should still join Academic Decathlon as it has the ability to set people apart from their fellows through a more comprehensive understanding of a variety of subjects. Academic Decathlon is a unique sport for unique people, but many students who would be a good match for it are unfortunately being left behind.

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