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Canyon del Oro Academic Decathlon team wins regional title

For the eighth year in a row, the Canyon del Oro High School Academic Decathlon team has won the regional title and will compete in the state championships March 6 and 7 in Phoenix.

Its score of 46,965.6 points out of 60,000 is the highest nationally among regional competitions so far this year, coach Chris Yetman said.

California schools, which have won the last six national championships, do not compete regionally until Friday, he said.

The CDO team is made up of seniors Taylor Cleland, Marie Clymer, Benjamin Ferell, Dylan Ousley and Jennifer Wendel; juniors Jordan Kurker-Mraz, Rush Moore and Danielle (Ellie) Strasser; and sophomore Anna Hainsworth.

CDO won the Super Quiz, a bowl-style event that caps the daylong competition. It had a score of 35 out of 40 points. In second was Mountain View High School at 31. Sonoran Science Academy was third at 29.

Yetman, who said he’s had plenty of hard-working teams in the last several years, called this year’s team the most industrious.

“The regionals were just Saturday, and the team was back here staying after school until 6 p.m. studying. Then they go home and study some more. They’re very focused and very willing to put in the time to succeed.”

He said the diligence has paid off. “Lots of other teams had lower scores this year and ours went up.”

Ferell was the highest scorer in regionals and also scored highest in the “interview” category.

Students from Yuma’s Cibola High and Gila Ridge High earned top scores in speech and essay, respectively.

In second place overall at the Jan. 31 regional contest was Mountain View of the Marana Unified School District with 43,346.2 points. The charter school Sonoran Science Academy was third at 36,806.

CDO, in Amphitheater Public Schools, is the top seed on the 40-team state championship roster. Mountain View is the fourth seed.

Sonoran Science Academy, Immaculate Heart Preparatory School, Rincon High School and Sunnyside High, all from Tucson, also were invited to the state contest.

“Latin America with a focus on Mexico” is this year’s decathlon theme, on which written exams in art history, economics, literature, mathematics, music, social science and science are based.

Students also must write a timed essay, be interviewed by a panel of judges and give a prepared and an impromptu speech.

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