South Pasadena High School Academic Decathlon Wins 4th Consecutive Year!

SPHS clinches the 2018 Academic Decathlon for LA County Thursday February 8

Photo: South Pasadena High School | | The SPHS Academic Decathlon Team earned the top spot in LA County for the fourth consecutive year, making it the first team to do so in the 36-year history of the competition.

Congratulations to South Pasadena High School’s Academic Decathlon team for not only winning the 2018 Los Angeles County competition for the fourth consecutive year but for winning an absolutely jaw-dropping 94 medals!

The Varsity team placed first in Super Quiz Relay, first in overall/all-division and the Junior Varsity team also placed first. The SPHS team set a new record for the highest overall team score in LA County!

Said team member Grace Goldman, “it felt surreal yesterday. It’s my first year in decathlon and I really didn’t expect to get the medals I did. I have confidence in my teammates, so I knew we would do well and it’s an honor to be part of this team.” When asked what she though gave them the edge Goldman continues, “I think it’s how much we love this program and each other. Not that other teams don’t care as much, but Mr. Valcorza always tells us that loving each other is 1000 points by itself.”

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South Pasadena also had the highest overall scoring decathlete in the entire county, senior Thomas Sawano, who scored 9,267.4 out of a possible 10,000. Fellow teammates Steven Chin won second place with a score of 9,182.8 and Allison Ou won third place with a score of 9,176.4. South Pasadena won the decathlon with 57,353.7 points out of a possible 60,000 which is close to a 100 point improvement over their 2017 score.

When asked about his big win Sawano had this to say, “while this may be mine and my team’s most successful season to date, I prefer to measure success in terms of the lessons learned as a result of high performance. Therefore, I think that this is only one year of an expanding legacy of consistent growth and improvement that our team emphasizes. But, I am very glad to have done so well in my senior year. Fingers crossed that this carries over to the state level!”

And did he know how well he was doing during the competition?

Sawano explains, “one of the things that I love about Academic Decathlon is that it’s almost entirely meritocratic: there’s always the sense that you have control over your own performance, as effort translates directly into results. In that way, yes, I did know that I was doing as well as I did, if only because of the immense amount of time and effort our team has put in throughout this season.”

And finally Sawano really wanted to encourages upcoming students to jump on board saying, “three years of competition have given me the opportunity to witness Academic Decathlon transform many of my teammates into confident, upstanding adults. This is the growth that I’ve always pursued, and, as I’ve discovered, the true value of this program. I am consistently inspired by the people that I’ve met and the lesson’s I’ve learned as a result of participation.

So, I would like to recommend any readers who are interested in the program and are current/prospective SPHS students to drop by Room 125 and talk to our coach, Mr. Oliver Valcorza. We are always looking for new team members; absolutely anyone is welcome, regardless of academic standing.”

Looking forward, the SPHS team will advance to the California Academic Decathlon competition in Sacramento March 22-25. The winner of the state competition moves on to the U.S. Academic Decathlon in Frisco, Texas in April.

The following students are part of the Academic Decathlon teams: Zane Atkinson, Maegan Chang, Steven Chin, Dawson Galluzzi, Grace Goldman, Adam Hamden, Dexter Hawes, Kimberly Hsueh, Harry Huang, Ryan Jeong, Tate Johnson, Chris Kalaw, Michael Marino, Allison Ou, Yoli Patzkowski, Danny Safaoui, Thomas Sawano, Brian Sheldon, Sofia Tomanov, and Austin Wong

Congratulations to teacher Oliver Valcorza and all the student competitors. Go Tigers!