Academic Decathlon team outcompetes opponents in preseason scrimmage

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Students study and quiz each other on the various study topics after school one day before their scrimmage. From left to right: junior Nandini Murali, junior Sam Schwartz, junior Grace DeLee, senior Aleks Recupero, senior Jonathan Gunn, and junior Jeremy Segal.

Sophia Goldberg staff writer

The Academic Decathlon team competed in their first scrimmage of the year at West High School in Torrance on Nov. 14 after months of practicing after school and on Saturdays.

Scoring 29,138 points during their pre-season event, the AcaDeca team placed fourth in Los Angeles County, 10th in California and 16th in the United States out of 1,200 teams.

“We hope to improve greatly from this. The team’s high scorer was junior Sam Schwartz, followed by senior Ninan Pollack, junior Kyrie Zhou, junior Nandini Murali and senior Mary Yoo. All of those students scored over 5,000 points, which is considered fantastic for this time in the season,” coach Phil Chase said. “The team will really rev up preparing for the January [Los Angeles] County competition, and are thrilled to be learning so many skills and gaining so much knowledge.”

For first-time competitors such as senior Kenya James, the competition showed them the organization and structure of a real competition.

“The scrimmage was definitely a new experience for me, but I enjoyed being around new people and getting a feel for the competitive environment,” James said.

As the team awaits the start of the season, James believes that the team is ready to compete. She says that the team study sessions, as well as students on their own, has proven valuable in learning the material.

“Our team is beyond prepared. Everyone is dedicated to succeeding, and I think we’re going to have a beneficial season. [We have prepared] by continuously studying. For example, once I finish reviewing certain sections with my teammates after school, I dedicate at least an hour of studying after completing homework,” James said.

Scrimmages, such as the one from last Saturday, help the team prepare for the upcoming season.

“I feel like [the competition] was a good experience for the team. I believe we are prepared for the upcoming season,” sophomore Eric Youn said. “We did well, but still have a lot to do in order to be ready for regionals in January.”

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