Merced High wins 11th consecutive Merced County Academic Decathlon title

For the 11th year in a row, Merced High School took the top spot at the 38th annual Merced County Academic Decathlon on Feb. 2.
For the 11th year in a row, Merced High School took the top spot at the 38th annual Merced County Academic Decathlon on Feb. 2. Nathan Quevedo, Merced County Office of Education

For the 11th consecutive year, Merced High School took home the championship title of the Merced County 38th annual Academic Decathlon.

Coached by Yer Lawson and Ellen Chiesa, the decathlon team won the Feb. 2 competition held at UC Merced.

Team members – Kate Colvin, Laura Ness, David Chen, Aaron Magsalay, James Phillips, Nathalie Flores, Ethan Jaimes and Demetri Pantoja – will represent the county at the State Academic Decathlon in Sacramento later in March.

Students from high schools – including Buhach Colony, Delhi, El Capitan, Golden Valley, LeGrand, Livingston, Los Baños, Merced, Valley Community School, Atwater and Valley Community School – competed against each other in a contest of academics with this year’s theme ‘The 1960s: A Transformational Decade.’

In second place was Buhach Colony, while Golden Valley took third.

Students vie in 10-event areas including art, economics, language and literature, mathematics, music, social science and science.

The county’s decathlon teams competed in three levels of competition: Honor, scholastic and varsity.

Besides taking the title, Merced High also won the Super Quiz competition. The Super Quiz as well as the awards ceremony are the only parts of the academic decathlon competition that is open to the public.

The top scoring decathlete this year, was Laura Ness from Merced High.

The following students earned the top scoring student on each team: Kaia Newsam (Buhach Colony High); Michael Navarro (Delhi High); Derrick Ma (El Capitan); Lucca Lorenzi (Golden Valley High); Riley Lopez (Le Grand High); Jonathan Asai (Livingston High); Sidney Carrigan (Los Baños High); Laura Ness (Merced High); Damien Gonzales-Pesqueira (Valley Community – Atwater); and Andrea Lopez (Valley Community – Los Baños).

The Academic Decathlon was sponsored by the Educational Employees Credit Union, Community Foundation of Merced County, UC Merced Office of Admissions and the Merced County Office of Education.

The event included the Merced School Employees Federal Credit Union’s Robert Wayne Scholarship awards of $500 to the highest scoring student on each team and $250 to two other top scoring students on each team.

María G. Ortiz-Briones: 559-441-6782, @TuValleTuSalud