Lemoore Middle College High School, behind top decathlete Isabela Díaz, ended Lemoore High School's two-year reign as Kings County Academic Decathlon champion.
The charter high school based at West Hills College Lemoore racked up 35,869 points at last Saturday's competition to earn a trip to the state competition March 14-17.
"This is quite an accomplishment," said winning coach Allen Tong. "What we did today is huge. You guys accomplished something we have never done before. I hope you always remember it."
Tong told his students "I can't tell you how proud I am of each of you."
"You guys worked very hard. This is a long time coming. Now you have to win state," Tong said.
"It was a good challenge," said LMCHS principal Dr. Víctor Rosa of grabbing the title away from Lemoore High, which finished second. "They raised the bar; they make us better by being so good."
The competition was held at the Technology Learning Center at Corcoran High School. This year theme was 'Russia.'
"This is a challenging event which requires immense preparation on the part of students and coaches," said Dee Fricks, coordinator of the academic decathlon.
High school teams from Avenal, Corcoran, Hanford, and Sierra Pacific high schools also competed in academic examinations in art, economics, mathematics, music, language & literature, social science, and science. The students also performed impromptu speeches, wrote essays on a given topic, participated in interview competitions ending with Super Quiz.
For 17-year-old Joel González, and a senior at LMCHS, said he was very happy of being part of the winning team. He also won five individual medals and a team medal for the super quiz.
This is González' first year in the academic decathlon.
"It's been pretty fun and challenging too," González said. "You get to show off if your school is smart."
"If you are going to do this, you need to make sure you put the time to learn. If you are not a hundred percent committed, it's going to show," González said.
For Josephine Pérez, a 17-year-old junior at Lemoore High, Saturday's experience was very rewarding. It was her second time participating.
Pérez took home three individual medals -- essay, speech and interview. Last year she won two medals.
"We are very proud of her," said Pérez's mother Patty.
Avenal High School's Ayendili Alcántar won a $250 scholarship for being the top student in her team. Alcántar, a 16-year-old junior, said it was a taking part of the academic decathlon for the first time was a very nice experience.
Alex Garza, 15, a sophomore at Corcoran High School, liked the challenge of the competition.
"I am going to better prepare next year," said Garza who won four individual medals and one $125 scholarship in social science.
A total of more than $6,000 in scholarships were awarded to top students.