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March 17, 2013

Granada Hills High Wins California Academic Decathlon for 3rd Time

El Camino Real takes second place. Both head to national competition in April.

By Saul Daniels, Northridge Patch

Granada Hills Charter High School Academic Decathlon Team

For the third consecutive year, Granada Hills Charter High School won the state Academic Decathlon Sunday in Sacramento with 56,165 points out of a possible out of 65,400. The team has been national champ twice.

El Camino Real Charter High School took second place with 55,669 points.

Both Schools advance to the national contest in Minneapolis on April 25-27. Granada Hills team beat more than 500 students from 61 schools from across the state.

Los Angeles County high schools took the top five spots. Franklin, Marshall and Beverly Hills high schools took third, fourth and fifth place.

The Granada Hills team includes Jae Kyung Chong, Seung Woo Baek, Hamidah Mahmud, Kimberly Ly, Kelley Ma, Kailin Li, Dayoung Kim, Faria Ghori and Beatrice Dimaunahan. Their coaches are Nick Weber, Matt Arnold and Spencer Wolf.

"A lot of other states are going to be gunning for California in the national competition," Ken Scarberry, executive director of the California Academic Decathlon, told KNBC4.

Out of 31 years, California has placed first or second every year at the national level except for once in 1982, Scarberry said.

“Some of these kids can’t believe they achieved a medal at a state competition,” Scarberry said. “It’s an awesome experience to see dozens of medals around their necks.”

The Russian-themed decathlon posited questions to the students about everything from the Space Race between the United States and Soviet Union in the science category to Boris Pasternak’s famous novel "Doctor Zhivago" in the literature category, KNBC4 reported.

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