Mark Keppel named champs in L.A. County Academic Decathlon

Mark Keppel High School in Alhambra clenched a narrow lead to win the 2014 Los Angeles County Academic Decathlon this month.

The Aztecs garnered 46,23.70 points, only 36.30 more than second-place finisher South Pasadena High School, according to the L.A. County office of education. Decathlon teams competed to earn up to 65,400 possible points during the two-day competition at El Rancho High School and USC.

Nearly 500 students from 55 teams, including 13 practice squads, participated this year. Mark Keppel will advance to the state competition slated for March 20-23 in Sacramento. Other schools joining the Aztecs as "wild card" entrants are South Pasadena, Redondo Union, Beverly Hills, West, South, Alhambra, Edgewood, Torrance, Burbank, El Rancho and West Ranch.

“We hear a lot about what’s wrong with public education, but here today, in this room, we can all see what’s right with public education,” Supt. Arturo Delgado said in a news release. “I appreciate the special commitment from so many districts, from superintendents and school boards, to support the Academic Decathlon despite all the financial pressures we’re all experiencing.”

This year's theme for the decathlon was World War I. The decathlon challenged students in 10 subjects such as art, economics, music, social science and students had to write essays and present speeches. The competition culminated in the quick, high-pressure "Super Quiz" that tested team members on all subjects at once, according to the news release.

The top-scoring athlete was Daniel Wang from West High School who earned 8,911.40 points out of a possible 10,000. Next, Luke Murphy from Redondo Union High School totaled 8,473.30 points followed by Bonnie Lam from Alhambra High School with 8,294.60 points.

County teams will join schools from the Los Angeles Unified School District at state including winner John Marshall, Granada Hills Charter, El Camino Real Charter, Taft Charter and Grant.

The winning team at state will advance to the national competition in Honolulu, Hawaii in late April.


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